Next step for pot bylaws

Vernon's cannabis bylaw amendments have passed first and second reading and will now go to a public hearing set for November 26. 

The public hearing is the next step in the process that could eventually lead to legal cannabis shops being reintroduced to Vernon.

Many cannabis shops throughout the province shut down just as the legalization of recreation cannabis was introduced Oct 17.

While technically illegal, cannabis shops in Vernon were permitted to operate before legalization, provided the operator entered into a covenant with the city. 

The covenant essentially stated, if zoning did not support cannabis retail sales at the retailer's location, the retailer would agree to shut down.

Many retailers shut down before legalization as a way of protecting future applications for a retail licence. 

The process to receive legal authorization to sell recreational cannabis in B.C. has been called cumbersome by many would-be retailers. 

Retailers can only purchase cannabis through the province if they have been issued a provincial license. 

Retailers cannot get a provincial license without local government support of a specific application.

Local governments cannot give explicit support for an application until cannabis sales have been regulated through bylaws. 

While some municipalities have set their cannabis zoning bylaws, Vernon has not. 

The public hearing set for Nov. 26 will take the process one step closer to finalization in Vernon.

"The zoning text amendments that council adopted previously related to cannabis, actually prohibited cannabis sales. This set of bylaw amendments retracts that and identifies all the different zoning districts in the city that they would be allowed as a permitted use," explains Kim Flick Director of Community Development with the City of Vernon.

The public hearing on the amendments to the city's cannabis zoning bylaws is scheduled for 5:30, Nov. 26 at council chambers.

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