“We don’t have the same limitation for shoe stores, grocery stores or barber shops,” another councillor said.
Close, but no cannabis.
A man hoping to set up a cannabis store in Kelowna, B.C. was again denied by city council for not being far enough away from an already existing store.
Regulations call for a 500-metre buffer between locations, which would require another 12 metres of separation in this case to prevent the latest rejection.
David Moore, the applicant who had his previous bid turned down for being just 100 metres away from a store, told council the actual distance from door to door was 600 metres, or 750 metres for customers approaching on foot or by car, according to Castanet.
The new location was to be next to Rusty’s Sports Lounge on Dilworth Dr. and would serve a different market area than the other store, Moore argued.
Council still voted 6-2 to deny the bid.
The razor-thin margin left Luke Stack feeling bad for the applicant, but the city councillor also said he felt it was important to wait for all of the city’s approved dispensaries to open their doors before altering any bylaws. “I think we do need to follow staff policy until we have a full rollout of the stores we have approved to see how it affects it,” Stack said.
“Even though I know we’re talking distance today, I think the bigger issue is how many stores will be in Kelowna and how well will it serve the community. From my perspective, I want to see the 18 stores roll out before I start supporting a lot of amendments to this policy,” he said.
But Stack did support an amendment to the distance bylaw by voting “yes” on an application to set up a store in the downtown area. “I hope I didn’t open a great big can of worms by doing that, but I thought in the whole downtown ,we could handle two. But, I didn’t want it to be a precedent, so I’m going to stay with staff policy.”
The two supporting votes for Moore’s bid came from Mayor Colin Basran and councillor Charlie Hodge, who repeated his position that the 500-metre stipulation is flawed and does not apply to any other industry.
“We don’t have the same limitation for shoe stores, grocery stores or barber shops,” Hodge said. “The only thing that comes close is for liquor distribution. It seems to me what we’re saying is while marijuana is considered legal, we still want to taint it with a negative approach,” he said.
“If it’s legal it’s legal. If not, it’s not.”
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Written by David Yasvinski