There has been budding interest in Kamloops from the cannabis industry for processing facilities, according to the city’s business licence inspector.
David Jones told KTW the city has had three “real firm inquiries” from cannabis micro-processors — which create products such as the marijuana edibles now on B.C. shelves — regarding where they could locate.
Cannabis-processing facilities are permitted in I2 and I3 heavy industrial zoning, but Jones said the inquiries have come with requests to be allowed in I1 light industrial zones.
Jones said processors prefer light industrial zoning because it typically comes with smaller units, better suited to their needs than larger, heavy industrial spaces where owners may not be willing to subdivide.
“These smaller units you would see up in Sahali, up around Notre Dame, Laval, that’s kind of the stuff they like to see — smaller units, more compact,” Jones said.
Heavy industrial zoning is also located in somewhat isolated areas, some distance from residential parts of the city, such as Mission Flats and parts of Dallas, whereas light industrial is better suited to comings and goings, Jones said.
The concern for the city is the impact cannabis-processing facilities would have on other businesses sharing space in I1 zoning.
“The difficulty will be for people to mitigate the smell, so if you’re in a building that has other businesses or occupancy, that smell’s going to be tough to mitigate,” he said.
Applications will be considered on a case by case basis and Jones said the city will need to take a “hard look” when considering a variance.
Jones said the city doesn’t want to end up driving out other types of businesses because people can’t stand the smell of marijuana.
Before requests are considered, Jones said, he would like to visit a processing facility and see it in operation to get a better idea of the type of equipment and ventilation systems that are involved.
While there is interest from groups wanting to set up processing facilities in Kamloops, Jones said nothing in writing has come forward to date.
“These folks are going to have to do some of their homework to make sure it’s going to be profitable, right?” he said.
When it comes to cannabis cultivation in Kamloops, Jones noted a marijuana-growing facility has opened on Mission Flats Road and another one is in development in Westsyde.
As for cannabis retailers, Jones said he anticipates one more government store and another six private retailers opening in Kamloops in 2020. That would bring the number of cannabis stores in Kamloops to 15 —12 private retailers and three government-owned stores.