Leaf Cross Health Society applied to the city for a cannabis licence under the name Buddy’s Place, and lost a lottery designed to decide on a limited number of competing applications for the downtown area. Photo: Bill Metcalfe

Leaf Cross Health Society applied to the city for a cannabis licence under the name Buddy’s Place, and lost a lottery designed to decide on a limited number of competing applications for the downtown area. Photo: Bill Metcalfe

Nelson approves three recreational cannabis licences, rejects one

Applicant Buddy’s Place was eliminated in a lottery draw Monday

Nelson council has approved three out of four applications for recreational cannabis stores in the city.

Buddy’s Place (currently known as medical cannabis dispensary Leaf Cross) lost a lottery vote at council Monday night. The vote is part of a process that the city put in place last year to decide between competing recreational cannabis businesses.

In 2018, city council developed rules, following a public survey that got 1,779 responses, specifying how many recreational cannabis outlets were allowed in each of four zones of the city — one in the Nelson Ave. zone, one in Railtown, one in Lakeside/Industrial, and two downtown.

Applicants had to apply to council after passing a screening process at the provincial government.

Then council would apply its own criteria including compliance with zoning, and recommend the successful applicants back to the province for licensing.

Over the past few months, the four Nelson business applicants passed the province’s initial screening process.

Kootenays Cannabis Tree (formerly the medical cannabis dispensary Kootenay’s Medicine Tree) applied to convert its current dispensary location on Front Street, and was approved by council because it was the only applicant requesting a spot in the Lakeside-Industrial zone, and also because it got high marks on a scoring matrix developed by council last year.

That matrix gives applicants points based on location, community impact, security plan, owner qualifications, building facade, and interior improvements. Kootenays Cannabis Tree achieved 85 per cent on this test, which was processed and scored by city management.

The other three applicants — Green Room (which achieved 100 per cent), Buddy’s Place (93.5 per cent) and Potorium (100 per cent) — had all applied to locate in the downtown area.

But the city’s zoning bylaw only allows two outlets downtown and provides for a lottery draw in the event that there are competing high-scorers within 10 per cent of each other.

As a result, council voted to recommend Green Room and Potorium to the province for licensing.

Councillor Brittny Anderson said she doesn’t like the lottery process.

In an interview after the meeting, Anderson said, “I think in some cases lotteries make sense, but that should have happened a long time ago, not when people have spent this much time, this much money, preparing, and then to suddenly be completely cut off. I think it’s cruel.”

When it came time to vote on not recommending Buddy’s Place to the province (because it had lost the lottery), Anderson asked that council refrain from voting, leaving it in abeyance.

This would have the effect of not recommending Buddy’s Place to the province and yet not formally disapproving it either, enabling the business to pursue one of three options that were explained to council by planner Alex Thumm:

• apply again, but for an alternative location outside of downtown in one of the zones (Railtown or Nelson Ave.) for which there have so far been no applications,

• apply for a temporary use permit for up to three years, with conditions set by council, renewable only once,

• apply for a land use amendment that would involve a public consultation and public hearing, like any request for a zoning change.

No one at Buddy’s Place (Leaf Health Society) was available for comment on Tuesday.

The lottery draw was conducted by Thumm at the council meeting, using three ping-pong balls and a large bowl.

“Some cities actually purchase lottery machines,” Thumm told council, “and we did not want to do that for a one-off, so we have this bowl, with a lid. We have three Dollar Store ping-pong balls, purchased out-of-pocket for two bucks.”

The balls were numbered, the bowl was shaken by Thumm, and the city’s corporate officer Sarah Winton reached, eyes closed, into the bowl and chose two balls — those with the numbers assigned to Potorium and Green Room.

Related:

Nelson council approves cannabis business selection system

Nelson to allow cannabis dispensaries to operate into new year

Nelson reveals cannabis survey results

Nelson council refines proposed recreational cannabis bylaws



bill.metcalfe@nelsonstar.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

A rainbow shining on Kelowna General Hospital on May 12, 2020 International Nurses Day. (Steve Wensley - Prime Light Media)
New COVID cases trending down in Interior Health

24 new cases reported Thursday, Feb. 25, death at Kelowna General Hospital

Sylvain Fabi, Canada’s chief negotiator for the Columbia River Treaty, joined a number of government and Indigenous government stakeholders for a virtual town hall on Feb. 24, 2021, to update the state of the Columbia River Treaty negotiations. Trevor Crawley photo/Zoom screenshot
Indigenous input key to Columbia River Treaty negotiations

Ecosystem function included in negotiations along with flood management and power generation priorities

Shayna Jones. Photo: Louis Bockner
Kaslo performer collects stories of Black rural experience

Shayna Jones will create a performance piece about Black people ‘tucked away in the countryside’

The Feb. 25, 2021 edition of the Nelson Star might be a little late getting to your door. File photo
Snow delays latest Nelson Star issue

We are done with the white stuff

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry updates B.C.’s COVID-19 situation at the B.C. legislature. (B.C. government)
B.C. reports 10 additional deaths, 395 new COVID-19 cases

The majority of new coronavirus infections were in the Fraser Health region

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

A new survey has found that virtual visits are British Columbian’s preferred way to see the doctor amid the COVID-19 pandemic. (Unsplash)
Majority of British Columbians now prefer routine virtual doctor’s visits: study

More than 82% feel virtual health options reduce wait times, 64% think they lead to better health

Captain and Maria, a pair of big and affectionate akbash dogs, must be adopted together because they are so closely bonded. (SPCA image)
Shuswap SPCA seeks forever home for inseparable Akbash dogs

A fundraiser to help medical expenses for Captain and Maria earned over 10 times its goal

The missing camper heard a GSAR helicopter, and ran from his tree well waving his arms. File photo
Man trapped on Manning mountain did nearly everything right to survive: SAR

The winter experienced camper was overwhelmed by snow conditions

Cory Mills, Eric Blackmore and A.J. Jensen, all 20, drown in the Sooke River in February 2020. (Contributed photos)
Coroner confirms ‘puddle jumping’ in 2020 drowning deaths of 3 B.C. men

Cory Mills, Eric Blackmore and A.J. Jensen pulled into raging river driving through nearby flooding

Ashley Paxman, 29, is in the ICU after being struck by a vehicle along Highway 97 Feb. 18, 2021. She remains in critical condition. (GoFundMe)
Okanagan woman in ICU with broken bones in face after being struck by car

She remains in serious condition following Feb. 18 incident

Vancouver International Women in Film Festival kicks off March 5.
Women in Film Festival features two B.C. filmmakers

The 16th annual festival kicks off March 5, 2021

The booklet roots present day activism in the history of racist policies, arguing the history must be acknowledged in order to change. (CCPA)
New resource dives into 150 years of racist policy in B.C.

Racist history must be acknowledged in order to change, authors say

Most Read