By ROY WOOD
Another proposed cannabis store received an initial okay from Osoyoos council this afternoon, bringing to four the number of actual and planned pot outlets in the community of about 5,000 people.
Budzilla Cannabis Inc. was granted first- and second-reading rezoning approval for a store in the Lakeview Plaza near City Furniture and the Red Apple.
The site is within a hundred metres or so of another proposed outlet would be in the vacant storefront adjacent to the Dollar Store in Gateway Plaza, just across Highway 3.
The Gateway proposal, along with another on 72nd Avenue in the old Osoyoos Signs building, have received third-reading approval from the town and are working through the provincial licensing part of the process.
There is one cannabis retailer already serving customers in Osoyoos. Maple Leaf Greenery on Main Street just west of Jojo’s Café opened in October.
Budzilla’s next hurdle will be a public hearing on December 16, after which council may approve third reading of the bylaw. Then the company will go to the provincial Liquor and Cannabis Regulation Branch for so-called “fit and proper” approval.
After that it’s back to the town for fourth reading of the rezoning and then the business licensing process.
The rezoning requirement was imposed on would-be pot sellers by council last year as it grappled with how to deal with the legalization of cannabis retailing.
Many jurisdictions simply included pot stores as an allowable use in some or all commercial zones. Osoyoos decided to impose a “site-specific” zoning requirement on that particular business. So, anyone who wants to open a cannabis retail outlet must go through a rezoning, which includes a public hearing.
So far, there has been little push back from the public at such hearings and the town planning department has generally encouraged council to approve the proposals that have come forward.