How many pot shops in the downtown core are too many?
Vernon city council has decided six is the magic number.
City leaders said half a dozen recreational marijuana dispensaries in the downtown core is enough.
Coun. Akbal Mund raised the issue of how many is too many.
The city has received and approved 10 applications for pot shops, at least four of which are confirmed to be in the downtown area.
Mund said that does not mean there will only be six shops in all of Vernon, just six downtown.
Mund said there were concerns among downtown businesses about the number of medical marijuana dispensaries that opened downtown before legalization in October 2018. Businesses didn’t want a repeat of what some felt were too many.
“It’s not a permanent limit, and it does not limit for the rest of the city as well,” said Mund, adding shops can still be approved for other parts of town as long as proper zoning is met.
If there are no complaints or challenges, the number of downtown shops could increase.
Once the applications currently in the pipeline are processed, the city plans on putting a one-year moratorium on applications for shops downtown.
Coun. Dalvir Nahal said four downtown locations have been approved, one more application for a shop downtown is already in the works so that leaves room for one additional shop.
Nahal voted against the resolution because people are paying thousands of dollars to apply and by suddenly capping the number downtown applicants they could be out a lot of time and money.
Nahal said she believes a cap in the downtown is needed but is concerned for those who made the effort and expense to officially apply only to have the cap dash their plans.
“I don’t know if they are going to get their money back, but we did it backwards. We should have limited it and then took applications,” she said. “We don’t know how many people have put applications, but now they will find out their application is useless. I just think the people who have already done the work, their applications should go through.”
While it is up to the city to approve an application based on zoning and other criteria, only the province can issue a license.
Mayor Victor Cumming did not respond to calls seeking comment on the issue.
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