If you’re looking to open a private cannabis retail store in Osoyoos, the road starts here.

The provincial government is now accepting private cannabis retail store licence applications, the provincial Liquor and Cannabis Regulation Branch (LCRB) posting a suite of application materials and guidelines online.

The extensive provincial process involves registering the enterprise in B.C. as a sole proprietor, partnership or corporation and registering to collect both provincial and federal excise taxes.

Applicants must own, lease or have an agreement to lease a proposed retail store location before applying. The province also requires the retail operation be a “standalone business,” meaning sales cannot be conducted in a location that serves another business purpose.

In Osoyoos, that effort might prove a little more difficult.

Opinion: Why are we making it
so difficult
 to legally sell marijuana?

Osoyoos Council has yet to pass a bylaw providing specifics on local licensing, although it is leaning towards a “site-specific review” of each vendor location before granting a licence.

Site-specific zoning means Council would review each proposed retail site “on its own merits,” allowing it each time to look at the proximity of the proposed outlet to schools and parks and the outlet’s potential impact on existing adjacent businesses and other properties, parking and access.

That process makes it awkward for “potential entrepreneurs or business people,” Coun. Mike Campol suggested July 16, noting potential operators would be without “the knowledge of where they can open and what (the process) looks like” and instead have “no idea what a Council will decide each time.”

The Town’s four other Council members have all voiced support for the site-specific review process.

The province has given local governments the authority to effectively deny a marijuana sales outlet, since the LCRB cannot issue a licence unless the local government gives the LCRB a positive recommendation.

Local governments can also:

  • impose restrictions in its zoning bylaws regarding the location of cannabis retail stores;
  • limit the hours that cannabis retail stores can operate or impose other conditions such specifications regarding signage; and,
  • charge the applicant fees if choosing to assess an application.

The Town has closed the door on government-operated outlets.

The province says it cannot give a timeline for application approval since it “does not know at this time how many applications for non-medical cannabis retail store licences will be received or how long the local government or Indigenous nation public recommendation process will take.”


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