Cannabis stores reviewed

After receiving 41 applications for retail cannabis stores last year, City of Kelowna staff expect to make approvals by mid-February.

The cutoff for the first intake of rezoning applications was Nov. 1, but since then, four applicants have withdrawn their applications. Another has been put on the back burner, as they've applied in an area that hasn't been approved for cannabis sales in the city.

City planner Kim Brunet says the city's evaluation committee will meet this month to pare down the remaining 36 applicants.

“I would expect applicants to know by mid-February whether their application was selected to move forward at this time or not,” Brunet said.

After applicants are selected, they'll move forward with the city's standard rezoning process, before going before council.

The timeline of that process will depend on the locations.

“Some of them that are in the downtown core that are just looking to change the use from retail to retail cannabis sales might be a little more straightforward and would take less time,” said Brunet. “I would think that council would start seeing these in the spring, some of the first rezonings coming forward to them.”

The final number of stores approved in the city will depend on the applicants' scoring during the evaluation process and their proximity to each other. In Kelowna, cannabis stores must be at least 500 metres apart.

A cannabis retail store in Lake Country is set to open Thursday on Okanagan Indian Band land, off Commonwealth Road, as reported by local cannabis publication The oz. That store, along with another operating on Okanagan Indian Band land on Westside Road, do not have provincial retail licences.

Meanwhile, the District of Lake Country approved a retail cannabis store in December that's expected to open this month, while Summerland has also approved a cannabis store.

Castanet's interactive map above shows the locations of 36 proposed cannabis retail stores in Kelowna.

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