Pot retailers get the word

Ten prospective Kelowna cannabis retailers got the news they were hoping for – their applications have cleared the first hurdle.

They received the highest marks of the 36 applications received by the city.

Four or five others, whose scores were close, or identical, will also get a chance through a blind draw, expected to take place in the next few days.

The other applicants have been told their applications did not make the grade and have been turned down, although city planner Ryan Smith says they could reapply at a later date.

The owner of Hemp City and Arcade took to social media to say he was one of those who was not accepted.

Those making the grade will now get the chance to make a formal rezoning application for their site to city council.

Smith expects those applications to hit the council table early next month.

They would then have to go through a public hearing before being awarded a business licence.

Along with city approval, retailers will also require a provincial license. Smith says the city has forwarded those applicants to the province in hopes the two processes can run concurrently.

While as many as 15 applicants will get a chance to present to city council, it's unlikely all 15 will be able to operate.

City bylaws state cannabis retailers must be 500 metres from each other, 150 metres from parks and elementary schools and 500 metres from middle and secondary schools.

While 11 of the 36 applications were for locations in the lucrative downtown area, those setbacks may mean only two, or three at the most will be accepted.

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