Owner of illegal cannabis store in Kamloops objects to planned legal store across street

Kamloops council will get a look at a pair of private cannabis applications on Tuesday.

They will be the first of their kind to hit council chambers following approval during council’s last meeting of a government cannabis store, which opened without opposition on legalization day (Oct. 17).

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Chris Lyth, who is hoping to open The Shore Cannabiz Shop at 399 Tranquille Rd. on the North Shore, has received fierce opposition from a neighbouring illegal dispensary.

In a letter to council, Carl Anderson, who operates the Canadian Safe Cannabis Services dispensary at 405 Tranquille Rd., submitted a 305-name petition against the application.

“It seems more like a direct attack to the local medical cannabis community than anything else,” Anderson stated in a letter to the city. “It also seems like a direct violation of the new City of Kamloops bylaws, which specifically state that there should not be two cannabis dispensaries within 100 metre radius of each other.”

He noted his dispensary has been operating for more than a decade and has 6,000 members.

However, in its report, city staff said the Canadian Safe Cannabis Services dispensary does not have a provincial cannabis licence and is “non-compliant.” Staff are recommending council support Lyth’s application and the report to council notes the location complies with all regulations under the city’s zoning bylaw. Should Lyth’s application be approved, the Canadian Safe Cannabis Services dispensary would be operating too close to the approved cannabis store to legalize, though the city could offer zoning variances with council approval.

Dave Jones, the city’s business license inspector, however, said staff would not recommend offering an exception for Anderson’s store.

Jones said he spoke with Anderson on multiple occasions, advising him to apply for a cannabis license through the proper channels. Jones said Anderson wishes to continue offering edibles — something yet to be approved and regulated by the federal government.

The city has also recommended illegal dispensaries close voluntarily.

A second cannabis retail application by Christopher Monteleone appears to have significant support, with letters from the North Shore Business Improvement Association, Venture Kamloops and many local business people. In total, nearly 30 letters of support were submitted in favour of granting a licence for Monteleone, Dino Bernardo and Justin Cuzzetto to open Fiore Fresco in the Fortune Shopping Centre at Fortune Drive and Eighth Street on the North Shore.

One lone letter of opposition expressed concern about cannabis shop being near The Success Formula Tutoring, which is located a few doors down from the proposed Fiore Fresco in the strip mall.

“I am very anti-drug and am very upset that the city is even considering having such a store besides [sic] a business that works primarily with minors,” the letter states, suggesting the shop be located elsewhere.

During council’s last meeting, it approved an application for a government store in the Columbia Place Shopping Centre in Sahali, paving the way for the first legal cannabis shop to open in the province the following day.

The application was approved with no debate by council.

© 2018 Kamloops This Week

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