West Kelowna expected to ban cannabis shops
Pot-retailing bylaw to come before city council today for fine-tuning
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.
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.