Vernon eyes restrictions on number of cannabis stores - InfoNews

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Vernon eyes restrictions on number of cannabis stores

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April 18, 2019 - 3:06 PM

VERNON - Vernon council is looking to impose restrictions on the number of pot shops allowed in the city.

A proposal is in the works to ask city staff to draft a report with options to restrict the number of cannabis retail stores permitted to operate in Vernon, according to the council's April 23 meeting agenda.

The City has so far recommended the province approve nine applications for non-medical cannabis stores to set up in the city. Another application for a store at 3300-31 Ave. is pending approval and set to be voted on at the April 23 meeting.

Coun. Kari Gares said a discussion surrounding the impact and number of cannabis stores in Vernon was warranted and needed to be addressed.

"We're in very new territory," Gares said. "We don't necessarily know what the outcome is going to be, which is why this discussion is coming to the table so we can actually have a concrete discussion on the possibilities on what those outcomes may be."

The issue of where cannabis stores can be located has been left up to local governments in B.C. allowing cities to make their own criteria and often sparking passionate public debate.

Gares reiterated it wasn't about restricting the free market but about looking at the impact of cannabis stores.

"I think everybody believes that because it's a free market the market will sort itself out and yes that is the case. But I think we have a responsibility as well to look at whatever possible negatives could occur by having oversaturation," Gares said. "If five stores opened next to each other and then three shut down, what kind of impact will that have?"

Coun. Brian Quiring said he thought the City needed to look at the proximity of pot shops to other pot shops, and the report was worthwhile.

"I don't want to see every second storefront downtown being cannabis retail, but by the same token I don't want to restrict free enterprise," Quiring said.

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