Kelowna nixes Kootenay Cannabis location near Greenery

Published on November 1, 2021 by The Daily Courier

A mockup of the Kootenay Cannabis branding on a Kelowna location
A mockup of the Kootenay Cannabis branding is included as part of the application package to the City of Kelowna.

By Ron Seymour

Some of the cannabis stores approved by the City of Kelowna likely won’t open because their owners can’t pass security clearances or can’t show where they got their capital from, councillors heard Monday.

The city has cleared the way with re-zonings for 20 cannabis stores to open, and approval for four more is expected soon. But only 11 operators have also received the necessary provincial approval.

Mark Young was seeking council’s support for a Kootenay Cannabis store he wanted to locate in a strip mall at the corner of Highway 97 and Highway 33, close to a Greenery Cannabis Boutique store.

• RELATED: Kelowna to revisit its cannabis store philosophy

Young said he doubted all of those in the queue for provincial approval would receive it. He suggested the would-be operators wouldn’t get government approval because they may present security concerns, or be unable to show their venture capital came from legitimate sources.

Young, who has two cannabis stores elsewhere, made his comments as he appealed for council to set aside the city’s own policy of maintaining at least a 500-metre separation between cannabis stores. His proposed Kelowna store would have been 424 metres from a pot shop that’s already received municipal approval.

Young’s hoped-for store would also have been within the required 500 metre separation from the nearest school.

Council voted 6-3 to maintain the existing rules and not send Young’s cannabis store proposal to a public hearing.

“I’m comfortable attempting to follow our current bylaws,” Coun. Ryan Donn said.

As he has on numerous occasions before, Coun. Charlie Hodge said he was opposed to the city’s 500-metre separation policy and favoured the city approving as many cannabis stores as the market supported.

“We don’t regulate shoe stores or restaurants,” Hodge said.

Coun. Luke Stack countered that Hodge’s comparison was unsound because pot is a federally regulated product. “It’s not like candy or hot dogs,” Stack said. “It’s a regulated product. That’s why we’ve put care and thought into our policies.”

Voting to block the proposed new cannabis store were Donn, Stack, and councillors Maxine DeHart, Brad Sieben, Gail Given and Mohini Singh.

Voting to send the proposal to a public hearing for rezoning consideration were Hodge, Mayor Colin Basran, and Coun. Loyal Wooldridge.

During the discussion, several councillors indicated they would support a comprehensive review of the cannabis store approval process in the near future.

— The Daily Courier

First hit was posted on Oct. 29

A proposed cannabis retail store on the corner of Highway 97 North and Highway 33 in Kelowna is too close to another cannabis store, city planners say.

They’ll recommend Monday that city council not endorse a Kootenay Cannabis location because it would be 424 metres away from one that’s already been approved.

Municipal regulations stipulate a separation of at least 500 metres, but councillors can waive the requirement if they so choose.

“This application to reduce the distance between cannabis stores does not meet the intent to limit clustering of this use and there are a sufficient number of approved cannabis stores across the city to serve overall need,” planners write in a report to council.

The city has rezoned 20 properties to support cannabis sales, and another four are expected to receive final approval soon. Only 11 stores, however, have so far also received the provincial approval that’s also necessary to open.