Osoyoos pot shop gets final zoning okay;
could be open by the end of October
By ROY WOOD
If things continue to unfold as expected, Osoyoos could have its first operating pot shop within a couple of months.
Council gave fourth and final reading to a zoning bylaw amendment allowing Maple Leaf Greenery to open a cannabis store at 8322 Main Street, a couple doors west of Jojo’s Café.
The latest step in the torturous journey follows three earlier bylaw approvals and a preliminary okay from the provincial Liquor and Cannabis Regulation Branch (LCRB).
This approval will be forwarded once again to the province which, according to Maple Leaf director Jana Howardson, will issue an approval in principle and allow her to begin construction.
The Main Street location has been a mostly-empty storefront for several years.
Howardson told council this afternoon that once the store is ready to open, the LCRB will conduct a “walk-through” and then issue a licence to operate. A key issue for the province is security, with all cannabis products needing to be locked in a safe when the store isn’t open.
The company will also need to obtain a business licence from the town. Late last year council decided that cannabis retailers would pay $500 a year for a licence, at least $200 above what other commercial businesses pay.
Howardson, who also has an active cannabis retailing project underway in New Westminster, said the town of Osoyoos has been very pleasant to deal with throughout the long process.
Initially, the shop will carry only smokable cannabis products, including in the neighborhood of 30 different strains of THC-containing cannabis.
Edible cannabis products become legal on October 17 and Howardson expects to have them on her shelves by Christmas.
The Maple Leaf store is the first proposal to reach this stage in the process. Two others – one in the old Osoyoos Signs building and one in the mall near the Buy-Low – have gone through three readings at council and await preliminary LCRB approvals.
An earlier application for a building across Main Street from AG Foods was abandoned in the spring and another at the Owl Pub was rejected by council over customer safety concerns.