When Warfield went through the process of establishing rules around the retail sale of pot last year, council ended up with several regulations including the statute that only two non-medical cannabis stores would be permitted in village limits.
To date, there is one.
The proposal for another is now on the table – this one will focus on the ‘edibles’ market – and this application has prompted council to schedule a public hearing before the regular council meeting tonight.
So, why the call for another community meeting when a bylaw is already in place?
“There is no need to have a public session regarding ‘Hedibles,’” began Mayor Diane Langman.
“However, Warfield council is committed to an open and transparent process, so when we received a letter from the BC Liquor Distribution Branch stating there was an application in the queue for an edibles store, we wanted to ensure that our residents have input and we keep them informed,” she said.
“Because the legalization of marijuana is still so new, particularly with edibles now, we want to ensure we are taking the steps to inform our residents along the way.”
If council does chose to go forward with this second application, Langman says both stores would be owned by the same individual.
The business owner is proposing to run the store from the small commercial space beside the former Kootenay Savings building, where a weight loss center was previously located. This is doors away from where his first shop is located.
“Council is wanting input to see how our residents feel about the second location,” said Langman.
“Specifically, about being so close to the other dispensary in Warfield … along with one business owner holding the two permitted licenses in Warfield, as per village bylaw.”
As far as revenue-sharing from respective sales, including profits from the upcoming ‘edibles’ market, Langman says it’s still very unclear what municipalities can expect for returns.
And for small towns like Warfield with limited resources, costs to advance the licencing of these stores are adding up.
“It’s been over a year now since legalization, and municipalities from across Canada have spent a lot of staff time and resources to try to have bylaws in place for zoning and smoking, et cetera,” she said.
“And no decisions have been made by the federal government on how the revenue from the sales of legalized marijuana will be shared.”
This issue was again brought to the floor at the September UBCM (annual conference of B.C. local government), Langman added.
“For a small municipality like Warfield, while we only have two permitted stores in our bylaws, it still takes a significant amount of staff time to ensure that we are following all of the procedures correctly, keeping our residents informed and making sure everything is up to date.”