Vernon Council voted in favour of implementing a 500-metre buffer between all new cannabis stores in the city at its meeting Monday, Oct. 26, 2020. (Black Press files)

Vernon Council voted in favour of implementing a 500-metre buffer between all new cannabis stores in the city at its meeting Monday, Oct. 26, 2020. (Black Press files)

New cannabis shops in Vernon will need to stay 500m apart

The distancing rule won’t apply to existing stores, including the six currently in downtown core

Cannabis stores in Vernon will need to keep their distance from one another in the future.

Vernon council voted in favour of a bylaw amendment that would prevent cannabis stores from being within a 500-metre radius of any other cannabis retailers.

The motion was brought forward by Coun. Kari Gares, who noted a high number of retail store applications since the legalization of cannabis, and an over-saturation of retail stores in the downtown core, which is currently home to six.

“I believe that this is a great way for us to ensure that we don’t have over-saturation and allow the markets to manage themselves,” Gares said. “If some of these businesses fail, that would mean there will be clusters of empty buildings in our city.”

The 500-metre buffer is similar to regulations on liquor stores, which must be 1,000-metres apart. There are also restrictions that prevent cannabis stores from being near schools, park and playgrounds.

READ MORE: Council greenlights Lake Country’s second cannabis store

Coun. Scott Anderson voted in favour of the motion, adding he’s heard that the Vernon area has the highest concentration of cannabis stores in the province.

“That’s not something I would like Vernon to be known for,” he said.

Coun. Dalvir Nahal said she knows some retailers have been struggling due to the over-saturated market.

“I don’t want downtown to be just pawn shops and pot shops,” Nahal said. “That’s not a good representation.”

The bylaw won’t affect existing stores in Vernon, or the eight applications that are currently stuck in the pipeline until the city’s current moratorium on new cannabis stores is lifted.

Existing stores won’t be penalized if they are within 500 metres of another store. But if they were to close, a new cannabis store won’t be able to take their place.

With the moratorium to end shortly, Gares said now is a good time to implement a regulation that will ultimately allow the local cannabis market to manage itself, without council having to process new applications.

“It will allow the market to dictate itself as opposed to mayor and council,” she said. “It would allow regulation to happen naturally.”

Coun. Akbal Mund was in favour of the motion but expressed that 500 metres goes a long way in Vernon’s downtown.

“It’s 700 metres from the Nature’s Fare to the Nixon Wenger building,” he said. “This may, in the future, limit the downtown core to one or two stores.”

Mund also attributed much of the over-saturation in the market to the so-called “green mile” of cannabis shops on First Nations land along Westside Road, as well as the Enderby and West Kelowna areas.

“The market already has been over-saturated because of what goes on First Nations lands,” he said. “Cost is different … It’s like gas prices: people don’t have any loyalty, they will go where they can get the best price.”

READ MORE: School board asks Summerland to amend cannabis store policy


Brendan Shykora
Reporter, Vernon Morning Star
Email me at Brendan.Shykora@vernonmorningstar.com
Follow us: Facebook | Twitter

cannabis

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

COVID-19. (Image courtesy CDC)
47 new COVID-19 cases in Interior Health region

1,538 total cases, 399 are active, ten in hospital

Summerland residents have been receiving a telephone scam with the number showing as the telephone number of the local RCMP detachment. (Black Press Media files)
Summerland RCMP telephone number spoofed in scam calls

Number used in scam attempts from tax agency

Darrell RIchards and his Harley Davidson Streetglide in front of Discovery House in Penticton on Nov. 5. (Brennan Phillips - Western News)
Penticton biker still in running to win custom chopper competition

Darrell Richards is sitting in first in the final round of the group stage

Gifts are being collected for the 50th annual Operation Santa Claus gift drive. New unwrapped items may be dropped off at the Summerland Review or McBain Insurance in Summerland. (John Arendt - Summerland Review)
Gifts collected for Summerland’s Operation Santa Claus

Summerland Review and McBain Insurance working on 50th annual holiday gift drive

(Phil Mclachlan - Western News file)
Emergency crews responding to overturned boat on Okanagan Lake

The boat, reported near Okanagan Lake Provincial Park, had two occupants

A woman wears a protective face covering to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 as she walks along the seawall in North Vancouver Wednesday, November 25, 2020.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
911 new COVID-19 cases, 11 deaths as B.C. sees deadliest week since pandemic began

Hospitalizations reach more than 300 across the province

Black Press Media and BraveFace have come together to support children facing life-threatening conditions. Net proceeds from these washable, reusable, three-layer masks go to Make-A-Wish Foundation BC & Yukon.
Put on a BraveFace: Help make children’s wishes come true

Black Press Media, BraveFace host mask fundraiser for Make-A-Wish Foundation

(Village of Lumby photo)
Mysterious, loud ‘boom’ shakes North Okanagan residents

Village staff, Earthquakes Canada aren’t sure what caused the explosion-like sound

Clarence Fulton students collect cash and non-perishable food donations for families in need in their community Friday, Nov. 27. (Jennifer Smith  - Morning Star)
North Okanagan students collect food for families in need

Annual event to support nine school families this year

Take a break from the slopes to discover the rich culture and diversity of Vernon. Michelle Beaudry photo, courtesy Tourism Vernon.
Tourism Vernon could see 40% cut to budget due to COVID-19

New approach to help residents and visitors activate their adventures

Follow public health recommendations, says Interior Health as COVID-19 cases continue to climb in Revelstoke. (Image courtesy CDC)
Revelstoke positive COVID cases grows to 29

Interior Health announced a cluster in the community on Nov. 26

Screenshot of Pastor James Butler giving a sermon at Free Grace Baptist Church in Chilliwack on Nov. 22, 2020. The church has decided to continue in-person services despite a public health order banning worship services that was issued on Nov. 19, 2020. (YouTube)
2 Lower Mainland churches continue in-person services despite public health orders

Pastors say faith groups are unfairly targeted and that charter rights protect their decisions

Penticton law courts
Osoyoos child sex offender in court

Shawn Titus, 37, is charged with possession of child porn

Leighton Allen Labute faces charges of animal abuse and allegedly has a string of social media accounts depicting disturbing content.
Accused Kelowna hamster killer has trial date set for 2021

Leighton Labute’s three day trial is scheduled for Aug. 16, 2021

Most Read