Pot shop seeks second chance to open doors in Vernon - InfoNews

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Pot shop seeks second chance to open doors in Vernon

August 30, 2019 - 5:00 PM

VERNON - A series of rule changes with unfortunate timing has prompted a request for review from one Vernon marijuana shop.

Vernon Cannabis Store Ltd. gained a spot on council’s Tuesday, Sept. 3, agenda in which Harpreet Nahal, legal counsel on behalf of the company, will speak to the negative impact successive rule changes have had on the store.

Originally submitted April 19, 2019, the company's application to open a recreational marijuana store met a roadblock when council made a motion to limit the number of cannabis stores within the downtown business improvement area (BIA) to six.

"Due to the unfortunate timing of the application and subsequent rule change, the originally proposed store was ultimately not able to obtain approval,” the letter reads.

In July, Vernon Cannabis Store entered into a lease on 48th Street in an attempt to circumnavigate council’s restrictions within the BIA. Vernon Cannabis Store sought to transfer their application to the new location; however, they were later advised by B.C.’s Liquor and Cannabis Regulation Branch that they would have to cancel their original application and submit new documentation, the letter suggests.

"This notification came back on July 29, 2019, and on the same day the City of Vernon Mayor and council approved a motion to stop any new applications for retail cannabis sales from being accepted for consideration. At this time, VCS has expended considerable amount of time and resources to set up this small business and is hoping to have such efforts reviewed on tier merits,” the statement reads.

"We believe that the unfortunate timing of the rule changes, the fact that the overall number of potential stores in Vernon will not change from expectations of council prior to the moratorium and the lack of public input opportunity or notice have resulted in unintended consequences leading to material financial loss and loss of opportunity.”

Vernon Cannabis Store said that they understand council’s reasoning behind the moratorium, but feel, given their “unique circumstances,” that a review on their location replacement application is warranted.

“It is our understanding that our current Vernon City Council is progressive and definitely pro-small business and economic development. Even the reasoning discussed by Vernon City Council for the moratorium spoke to how such regulations could help alleviate future economic issues in the City of Vernon from over supply, etc. Unfortunately, as a stakeholder in this industry, VCS has expended many tens of thousands of dollars on lease rental, legal fees, provincial applications, location specific design work, etc. and has not had the opportunity to provide our input on how this area should be governed or the challenges that we face."

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