As legalization looms, Kamloops cannabis store prepares for pot purchases

Government store in Sahali will be open seven days a week, with varying hours of operation

Close your eyes and think of an Apple store. That’s apparently what B.C.’s first legal pot shop looks like in the days leading to legalization.

“Modern, up to date, very techy — it’s unbelievable,” City of Kamloops business inspector Dave Jones said.

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Jones got a tour of the Sahali shop in advance of the first cannabis retail licence application going before city council on Oct. 16.

The BC Liquor Distribution Branch has applied for a licence to sell recreational marijuana at a store next to Save-On-Foods in the Columbia Place Shopping Centre. The store is expected to be the first in B.C. to open in time for recreational cannabis legalization on Oct. 17.

“I would expect that if it’s approved by council, on the 17th it will be open and operating,” Jones said.

The report headed to council reveals more details about how the store will operate.

Proposed hours of operation will be from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Mondays to Thursdays, from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays and from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Sundays. Provincial regulations allow sales from 9 a.m. to 11 p.m. seven days per week.

The city received the provincial referral on Sept. 6 and zoning is already in place, being that the location falls within regulations earlier set by city council. In consulting the public, the city placed a sign on the storefront and issued public notices to those within 100 metres.

“No written comments were received in response to the subject application,” a report to council states.

Also in that application, the public got its first look at a good neighbour agreement, which is conditional to a business licence. The mandatory agreement, renewed on an annual basis, commits business owners to work with police and the city to resolve concerns or issues. It addresses issues such as criminal activity, consuming cannabis on the property and managing litter.

“The good neighbour agreement just points out issues we potentially foresee," Jones said.

First steps to ensure compliance would be a verbal warning, followed by a written warning and then a meeting with neighbours. If those three steps result in no changes, the city then has the ability, with council permission, to suspend or revoke the business licence.

“The idea in my field of work is compliance,” Jones said. “Compliance is initiated by the owners and operators.”

The city has been preparing for legalization for about a year and Jones has been working on a provincial committee. Asked if the city is ready for recreational cannabis legalization, Jones said: “You betcha, we’re ready.”

He noted there may be potential hiccups down the road as the new industry rolls out and education is required. He said Kamloops has been a leader in B.C. and added the government store in Kamloops will set the standard.

“This is truly the signature store of cannabis stores across British Columbia,” he said.

The government store in Kamloops will be the only one open in the province on legalization day, with others set to open across B.C. in the days and weeks to follow.

About that good neighbour agreement:

Licensees who sign the two-page good neighbour agreement must:

  • not tolerate criminal activity within or adjacent to the property;
  • prohibit minors from entering or remaining on the property;
  • ensure any person working in the business is at least 19 years of age;
  • run police background checks on employees;
  • co-operate with RCMP;
  • “promptly” bring attention criminal charges against the licence holder or employees to the RCMP;
  • prohibit advertising;
  • prohibit consumption of alcoholic/cannabis products on the property;
  • prohibit the sale of food, except for tinctures, capsules, edible oils and other permitted products;
  • prohibit smoking or vaping of any substance within the business area;
  • discourage patrons from smoking/vaping or consuming purchased products outside the business to minimize impacts on pedestrians and the neighbourhood;
  • monitor and promote orderly conduct outside, including congregating;
  • assign staff to inspect outside each day to ensure no litter, garbage or other foreign objects associated with the business left within the general area;
  • work with the city, departments and community to resolve issues of concern;
  • submit to periodic full inspections by city departments;
  • participate in programs initiated by the city and RCMP to co-ordinate and monitor activities in the community.
© 2018 Kamloops This Week

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