By Keith Lacey
Special to Osoyoos Today
Osoyoos residents will soon be able to travel to Oliver for their cannabis while they wait for local pot shops to open.
Two new cannabis retail shops – one privately-owned and the other owned and operated by the provincial government – are expected to open in Oliver within weeks after Oliver Council Monday evening gave its final thumbs up supporting the applications.
Council unanimously supported a motion to send a letter of recommendation of support to the British Columbia Liquor and Cannabis Regulation Branch (LCRB) supporting the issuance of business Iicences for Bluewater Cannabis and BC Cannabis outlets.
The Bluewater Cannabis store will be located at 6341 Main Street, while the provincially-operated BC Cannabis outlet will be located in the strip mall at the south end of town next to Bosley’s pet store.
Randy Houle, Director of Development Services, told council that council’s support is the final administrative step needed before the LCRB will grant permission for the shops to officially open for business.
Back in July, Council voted in favour of allowing cannabis retail outlets to become a permitted use in the Town Centre at Highway/Commercial (C2) zones.
Both applicants have undergone a “fit and proper assessment” by the LCRB to ensure that all provincial regulations have been met as well as detailed security screenings and background checks, he said.
With council’s support, the LCRB will now continue processing both applications and will issue an Approval in Principle.
The applicants can then build out the store and once a final inspection has been passed by an LCRB inspector, the province will issue a cannabis licence, said Mr. Houle.
The applicant will then be required to apply for a business licence from the Town of Oliver before opening the store.
Meanwhile, in Osoyoos, three proposed cannabis retailers are awaiting provincial approvals.
“We have three applications sitting at third reading waiting for confirmation from the province that the applicants have completed the eligibility and suitability requirements of the Cannabis Control and Licensing Act,” explained Gina Mackay, Director of Planning and Development Services.
“Once we receive this confirmation from the Province that they have completed this step, we would then request that Council adopt the zone amending bylaw and provide the province with a positive recommendation in support of the application.
“The province would then be in a position to issue the licence.”