Four retail cannabis stores are looking to open in Terrace following the legalization of recreational marijuana Oct. 17.
The city received its first formal referral for a potential store downtown from the newly named Liquor and Cannabis Regulation Branch earlier this month. The city has spent the last few months updating their bylaws in preparation, and have received several calls about setting up retail cannabis as the legalization date gets closer.
“It appears that we may see three to four applications to the province for licensed stores in Terrace,” wrote David Block, city development services director, in an email to the Terrace Standard.
Once the city receives the first referral, the province then moves forward with their own scrutiny of the business with background checks of financial and criminal records. While the City of Terrace has said they will allow retail cannabis stores to open in select commercial zones downtown, Block said they won’t start their application process and hold public input until the business passes the province’s initial review.
There is no limit to the number of retail cannabis business licenses that can be issued, but the city does require there be a 100-metre buffer between similar businesses in the downtown commercial zones. All four recent inquiries have proposed potential locations downtown, and all four have the potential to receive licenses from the city, Block said. Though unlike a liquor license, there is no deadline for the amount of time needed to process an application.
The application fee for a storefront cannabis retail license was tentatively set at $1,500 on Oct. 9 – more expensive than any other business license for the city. The city says the amount is in line with the province’s own $7,500 price tag. The fee would also cover the cost of notifying residents 100 metres of the proposed location, with a public hearing organized ahead of the city’s review, Block said.
Deviant Fibres, hemp store on Lakelse Ave., is one of the four businesses inquiring about a license. Co-owner Aman Singh said the store has started their own application process and is keen on getting a license to sell, especially since they’ve had constant questions from customers about if they plan on expanding into recreational marijuana.
“It’s every second customer,” she said of the interest lately. “We’re still trying to figure out how it would look, but we’re going to try.”
According to B.C.’s public safety minister, the province has received 173 paid applications for private cannabis retailers and has sent 62 of them to local government or Indigenous nation for final approval before they can legally sell marijuana.
The Liquor Distribution Branch will also open online sales Oct. 17, with only one store in Kamloops given the green light to sell the day of legalization.