South Okanagan city approves four cannabis store locations

City council also chose to defer four applications, with five more still in the process of applying

The City of Penticton has approved four cannabis retail store locations thanks to a decision by council at the regular meeting on April 16. Council also deferred four other applications which will return before council next month when five other applications underway are finalized. (Black Press file photo)

Penticton is one step closer to having non-medical cannabis retail stores opening thanks to a council decision earlier this week.

City council approved four out of eight proposed cannabis retail store locations within the city at the regular council meeting on April 16. The city intially received 10 applications before the first intake deadline in February, but two have requested to present more information to council about their businesses prior to a decision being made.

Green Gaia (210 Main St.), Cannabis Cottage (385 Martin St.), Spiritleaf (2695 Skaha Lake Rd.) and BC Cannabis Store (103-2050 Main St.) will all receive recommendations of support from the city to the British Columbia Liquor and Cannabis Regulation Branch (BCLCRB). Council chose to defer their decision to either support or deny the applications from Zen Canna (2050 Main St.), Green Essence (101-437 Martin St.), Greenery Cannabis Boutique (465 Main St.) and Bluewater Cannabis (130 Nanaimo Ave. W.).

READ ALSO: Penticton gearing up to start processing retail cannabis applications

According to a report from city staff, the public engagement that began on April 20, 2018, concluded that 70 per cent of those surveyed wanted limited cannabis retail sales in the city. Using this feedback, council and the city developed a policy to review applications, including regulating the stores’ outer facades as well as where they could exist within the city. Proposed store locations that are in conflict of one another due to the policy buffer zone were then reviewed ‘based on merit.’

“The policy intent is to establish opportunities for limited sales of cannabis in Penticton in a regulated manner, reducing exposure to youth and ensuring the retail stores have a positive impact on the Penticton retail community,” read the report given to council.

City staff created a panel of five members from various city departments to “differentiate between several of the applications” using a “matrix based on the intent of the policy,” which scored each application out of 100. Scores were done independently, then averaged and ajusted based on a consensus from the panel. Recomendations were provided for applications that received a higher score when one or more violated the policy’s buffer zone.

Certain members on council had opposing views about the conflicts within the buffer zones, the difference between a provincial or private store and allowing the market to narrow down stores as opposed to the city.

While Zen Canna received 86 out of 100 from the matrix, one of the highest scores awarded by the panel, it was ultimately deferred due to its location in proximity to the BC Cannabis Store. Coun. Campbell Watt expressed that he would prefer to see the recommendation go through for the private business rather than a provincial one.

READ ALSO: Cannabis stores allowed in downtown Penticton

Coun. Julius Bloomfield and Mayor John Vassilaki, in addition to Watt, would have liked to see all applications supported in order to let the market determine which stores would succeed, but Coun. Katie Robinson was adamant that this was not the “will of the people,” noting that the majority of those surveyed wanted limited stores initially.

Coun. Jake Kimberley expressed that he could not support the motion to approve the staff recommended applications as they included two locations he did not see as fit for retail cannabis stores. These applications were for Green Gaia and Cannabis Cottage.

The deferred applications will have the opportunity to to come before council again next month, with staff noting that five more applications are in various steps of the process and would be presented to council at that time. Initially, staff recommended outright denying the deferred applications – Zen Canna, Green Essence, Greenery Cannabis Boutique and Bluewater Cannabis — which would mean sending a letter to the BCLCRB, effectively closing the application. Multiple councillors said they did not want to see the letters sent as staff explained they would then need to start the application process over, should they wish to reapply.

To report a typo, email: editor@pentictonwesternnews.com.

Jordyn Thomson | Reporter
JordynThomson 
Send Jordyn Thomson an email.
Like the Western News on Facebook.
Follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

WildsafeBC comes to the Okanagan to reduce wildlife conflict

Bear activity on the Westside has been an issue in the past few weeks

Column: A solar pioneer in the Okanagan rides among us

This Summerland octogenarian has been producing his own electrical energy for more than 20 years

93rd Okanagan music festival wraps up with gala celebration

The 2019 Penticton Kiwanis Music Festival finish with gala celebration and awards evening

Woman in hospital after being thrown off horse

She was airlifted to Kelowna General Hospital from Okanagan Falls

Okanagan-Shuswap weather: cloudy

Environment Canada is calling for a similar day tomorrow.

Killer of Calgary mother, daughter gets no parole for 50 years

A jury found Edward Downey guilty last year in the deaths of Sara Baillie, 34, and five-year-old Taliyah Marsman

Body of missing snowmobiler recovered from Great Slave Lake

Police confirm the body is that of one of three missing snowmobilers

North Okanagan tests out two $10/day childcare sites

Katrine Conroy came to Vernon to tour universal child care prototype sites, including the one at Maven Lane

Penticton sets cap of 14 cannabis stores, removes buffer zone

The city previously relied on a buffer zone and scoring matrix to limit number of stores

Okanagan medical cannabis shop shutting doors

Herb’s Health Centre has been operating without a city business licence for nearly a year

Toddler seriously injured after falling from Okanagan balcony

RCMP are investigating after a two-year-old boy fell from the balcony of an apartment in Kelowna

Witness says Kelowna man on trial for murder admitted to the killing

Steven Pirko is charged in the killing of Christopher Ausman in 2014

Bucking bulls return to Okanagan raceway Sunday

Bull Riders Canada returns to the South Okanagan with some of the top riders in Canada

Okanagan city to give out fines for sitting on sidewalk

Residents of Penticton will soon be fined for sitting or laying on sidewalks

Most Read