Castlegar city council will be ruling next month on whether three recreational cannabis retailers can open shops in the city. And there are as many as five more shops already in the approval pipeline.
Notices for the three proposed cannabis retail outlets appear in this weeks’ edition of the Castlegar News.
The ads give members of the public— residents and business owners— within a 800 metres of the proposed outlets until Dec. 27 to comment on the applications.
“Once we get the consultation report it will go to council and council will make a decision,” says Phil Markin, Castlegar’s director of development services. “Then we’ll forward that decision to the province for their final review.”
Markin says he expects the reports will be ready for council consideration at its first regular meeting of the new year, on Jan. 7.
But that’s not the end of the process.
A final OK is needed from the province, then the application goes back to council again, which decides whether or not to issue a municipal business licence.
The three applications are for: Spirit Leaf, which wants to open at 114-1502 Columbia Ave. (in the Columbia Mall); Cannaland Cannabis Ltd. at the old Arby’s on 17th St.; and Higher Path at 102-2032 Columbia Ave.
If approved, it’s still not known when the businesses will finally be able open their doors, says Markin, who retires from his job on Dec. 21.
“Who knows how long it is going to take?” He says he wants to wrap up this round of applications before leaving the job.
“We want to start with these three. We have a whole bunch of interest, with five additional ones who have indicated they are applying to the province.”
The province set up its retail cannabis process after the federal government legalized recreational marijuana on Oct. 17.
When the city passed its retail cannabis bylaw, council set few limits on where businesses could open, or how many could open in the city.
“Market conditions will determine how many will last,” says Markin.
Meanwhile, other cities in the West Kootenay are moving along with their applications.
The City of Trail has approved four applications, which are now on their way to the province for approval. It will consider a fifth application in the new year.
The City of Nelson is in the consultation phase for at least three proposed retail outlets.