West Kelowna ex­pected to ban cannabis shops

Pot-re­tail­ing by­law to come be­fore city coun­cil to­day for fine-tuning

The Daily Courier - - OKANAGAN - By RON SEY­MOUR

Mar­i­juana will be sold only in full-ser­vice phar­ma­cies in West Kelowna once the drug be­comes le­gal this year.

City coun­cil is ex­pected to­day to fine-tune its pot-re­tail­ing by­law to make it clear that pri­vately owned, stand-alone pot shops will be not be per­mit­ted in West Kelowna.

So-called com­pas­sion clubs, in which the drug is pro­vided to those with a med­i­cal pre­scrip­tion to use pot, also will be ex­pressly pro­hib­ited.

“These oper­a­tions turn into full-fledged dis­pen­saries over time,” reads part of a mu­nic­i­pal staff re­port to coun­cil.

Each of the four mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties in the Cen­tral Okana­gan is tak­ing a dif­fer­ent ap­proach to the reg­u­la­tion and li­cens­ing of pot shops.

The City of Kelowna will al­low both govern­ment-owned and pri­vately owned stores, sub­ject to re­stric­tions on where the pri­vate shops can be lo­cated. Those pro­posed re­stric­tions re­late to such things as sep­a­ra­tion be­tween pot shops, be­tween pot shops and liquor stores, and pot shops and parks and schools.

Peach­land in­tends to ban all pot shops.

Lake Coun­try will al­low pri­vate and pub­lic pot shops, and may or may not de­vise spe­cific rules such as min­i­mum sep­a­ra­tion be­tween such es­tab­lish­ments.

“Right now, our ap­proach is sort of lais­sez faire,” Mayor James Baker said Mon­day.

The grow­ing of pot for sale will con­tinue to be a mat­ter of fed­eral over­sight and reg­u­la­tion. There are al­ready a num­ber of fed­er­ally li­censed pot pro­duc­tion fa­cil­i­ties in the Cen­tral Okana­gan.

Provin­cially, the NDP govern­ment will con­trol the whole­sale dis­tri­bu­tion of pot, but will al­low the drug to be sold to cus­tomers through a mix of govern­ment- owned and pri­vately owned stores.

How­ever, each mu­nic­i­pal­ity can use its land-use pow­ers to es­tab­lish rules over such things as where pot shops can be lo­cated and their hours of op­er­a­tion. Mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties can also sim­ply ban pot shops in their com­mu­ni­ties.

The provin­cial govern­ment is host­ing work­shops to­day and Wed­nes­day for mu­nic­i­pal of­fi­cials re­lat­ing to is­sues around pot shop li­cens­ing and reg­u­la­tion.

A pub­lic hear­ing on the pro­posed re­vi­sions to West Kelowna’s pot shop by­law is sched­uled for May 22.

Daily Courier file photo

West Kelowna mar­i­juana shops like this one would be banned if the mu­nic­i­pal­ity to­day fine-tunes its pot-re­tail­ing by­law to make it clear that pri­vately owned, stand-alone pot shops will be not be per­mit­ted.

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