Kelowna to consider cutting cannabis fees

Published on March 26, 2021 by David Wylie

The City of Kelowna is considering slashing annual cannabis retailer business licence renewal fees, but it won’t happen quickly.

Ryan Smith, the city’s divisional director of planning and development, told the oz. that city staff are working on a report to present to city council this spring.

Kelowna currently charges a yearly business licence renewal fee for a cannabis store of $9,465.

“We’re going to do some review of cannabis bylaw zoning bylaw regulations and fees to some extent this spring,” he says.

If the fees drop, it won’t likely be until 2023.

As first reported by the oz., pressure is mounting for municipalities to consider treating cannabis retailers equitably.

Why are cannabis licensing fees so high?

Smith says part of the reason fees are so high is the province hasn’t helped municipalities cover cannabis retail costs.

He says the province initially talked about profit sharing cannabis revenue with local governments. However, there has been no action.

The fees help to recover hundreds of thousands of dollars in staff time and RCMP costs, Smith says.

He says the city had intended to lower them once the province helped financially. But that hasn’t happened.

“It’s expensive but sometimes things are expensive in these new industries,” says Smith.