Two more pot shop applications for downtown has businesses in area concerned

How many is too many?

There is opposition to the city allowing any more pot shops in the downtown core.

While a report from staff endorses two more marijuana store applications, the City of Vernon has also received several letters against additional marijuana stores in the city centre.

One applicant wants to set up a pot store at 3315 30th Avenue which is on the same block as Hive Cannabis.

Hive owner Neil Rockerbie authored one of seven letters opposing more pot shops.

“I think that there are already more than enough cannabis retail outlets in Vernon. Although competition is healthy, at this scale, the viability of the existing retail outlets is already stretched,” he said.
Rockerbie also protested the proximity of a new pot store to his existing one, and he is not alone in his concerns.

Roxanne Petruk, executive director Okanagan Valley College of Massage Therapy, expressed concerns of the area becoming “Drug Alley.”

“With a cannabis retailer only steps away at 3301 30th Ave., we feel an additional cannabis retailer in the downtown core is a negative. Vernon's downtown should be a vibrant mix of shops and services,” she said in a letter to council. “Multiple cannabis retailers in the downtown gives the sense of a 'Drug Alley' in the downtown and attracts loitering of persons in the drug culture, as opposed to families and tourism.

Petruk said 150 students walk between the main campus and the downtown learning centre along 30thAve on any given day.

“Although a cannabis retailer on it's own does not necessarily increase the risk of theft or assault, promoting a general sense that if you want drugs (legal or illegal) 'downtown is the place to be' could increase unwanted trafficking and thus decrease student safety. It is for that reason that we request this application be denied, and the city focus on promoting a downtown for tourists and residents that is full of family friendly retailers,” stated Petruk's letter to the city.

Council will discuss the applications at their next council meeting Monday at city hall.

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