Town reviews cannabis application fees

Town reviews cannabis application fees

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By Lyonel Doherty

Oliver Chronicle

The Town of Oliver is getting ready for cannabis legalization by reviewing application procedures and fees associated to retail sales.

Recently, council gave staff the green light to initiate amendments to the Land Use Procedures Bylaw and Fees and Charges Bylaw. This will prepare the Town when it comes time to charge fees for provincial referrals relating to the retail sale of cannabis.

Contract planner Chris Garrish said the process being established by the renamed Liquor and Cannabis Regulations Branch for marijuana licencing is very similar to that used for liquor licence applications.

But there’s one big exception: Currently, council has latitude with liquor applications to not comment on them without negatively impacting the outcome. However, this will not be the case with referrals for cannabis licences. For example, if council decides not to provide comment on a retail marijuana application, the liquor board will deem that application denied by the Town and therefore will not issue a licence, Garrish said.

The Town of Oliver has already determined to permit cannabis retail sales in the Town Centre and Highway Commercial zones.

The planner said any recommendation by council in support of a specific application requires a public consultation process. This would take the form of written comments, a public hearing or a referendum.

Due to the level of notification being proposed, Town staff recommend that fees for a cannabis store referral be set at $1,500, with a refund based on the level of consultation. For example, $1,000 refund if no consultation is undertaken.

Councillor Dave Mattes said he didn’t think a public hearing should be necessary because council doesn’t conduct them for any new business opening up in town.

It was commented that council should keep business relations simple by not adding another level of bureaucracy.

Councillor Larry Schwartzenberger wanted assurance that applicants will undergo a criminal record check prior to obtaining a licence.

Corporate Officer Diane Vaykovich said all applicants will undergo this screening.

1 COMMENT

  1. Oliver:
    I applaud the effort of council to try and keep this simple by not adding another level of bureaucracy, way to much already. The comment Dave Mattes made indicating that public comment might not be needed is another solid idea. Every time he or Larry Schwartzenberger opens their mouths something intelligent falls out.
    That said, I have an old college buddy who is a small town mayor, quite some distance from here, and he and his community have recently gone through this process with pot. After all was said and done the tax revenue from the legal sales of pot were simply staggering from my point of view. I would hope that our Mayor and Council will be providing us with detailed breakdowns of what this tax revenue looks like. Moreover, most communities who have this resource deposited in their laps ear mark a good deal of that revenue directly for crime prevention. I know, I know, Mike is always talking about a plan. But without a plan that is rigorously adhered to no one in this community will know what is happening to those funds. I harken back to the additional 9% property tax that is now be levied on us without our approval and or any real understanding of how much and where it is and will continue to flow. Please help me keep this issue on the forefront of the community eye, remember we have had two fatal shootings in the last two weeks……

    Thanks

    Michael Guthrie
    Oliver

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