COURTENAY, B.C. – While marijuana became legal today across Canada, don’t expect to buy some bud from a brick-and-mortar store in Courtenay anytime soon.
On legalization day, the only legal cannabis store in B.C. is a government-run operation in Kamloops.
The City of Courtenay’s director of development services, Ian Buck, said the municipality is “waiting on an application to rezone for one location that we’ve been referred, and as (of) yet, other than some preliminary discussion on what the application requirements are, we haven’t had anything come in, yet.”
In terms of the potential location, Buck didn’t want to share where it is until the city receives the formal zoning application.
But based on discussions from the property owner, Buck expects the application to be coming in “very shortly.”
“At which time all applications for development are posted on the city’s website,” he added.
The fees set in Courtenay’s bylaw for cannabis business licenses are $2,500 per year for retail sale of recreational cannabis and $5,000 per year for the production of recreational or medical cannabis.
The fees will be reviewed after one year. They could be adjusted depending on the impact they will have on local government resources.
As part of the regulations, the provincial government receives business applications and ultimately issues the license to sell recreational marijuana.
And as part of their process, the B.C. government refers the applications to local governments.
At the municipal level, the application is reviewed and if the local government doesn’t support it, the license isn’t issued.
“It’s very similar to the process with liquor licensing,” Buck explained. “Once we receive an application referral from the province, we contact the owners and advise them they also need to apply for rezoning.”
While the City of Courtenay has only been referred one application for rezoning to accommodate recreational cannabis retailers, Buck estimates there are between 160 to 180 (applications) across B.C.