Budding bud shop owners can now prepare their business plans after the Burns Lake village council amended and approved the new Liquor and Cannabis License Policy at its Oct. 22 meeting.
The approval puts into place the policy needed for potential retailers to submit applications for new cannabis stores.
The new policy integrates an updated version of the liquor license rules as well.
The village has been studying the rules on cannabis retail sales for some time and received public feedback on the issue as far back as the fall of 2018, according to a council report.
The village can now accept applications for opening cannabis shops, as Sheryl Worthing, Chief Administrative Officer told the meeting.
“When an application comes to us we’ll go through the process of a public hearing, making sure everyone is okay with its location, make sure it falls within the guidelines, and then it goes back to the province,” she said.
The provincial Liquor and Cannabis Regulation Branch (LCRB) would also ask the village for its recommendation on the application. If that is positive a license can then be given.
Applicants must pay an application fee of $7,500, according to the LCRB website. The application is put through security screenings and financial integrity checks.
Shops are also subject to a first-year licensing fee of $1,500 and an annual renewal fee of the same.
Successful applicants must then receive a business license from the village, which costs $110.
The new Liquor and Cannabis License Policy brings Burns Lake closer to joining other northern communities in opening up cannabis shops, just over a year after recreational weed became legal in Canada.
To date, licensed weed stores have opened in Smithers, Terrace and Prince George, with new shops ready to open or going through the application process in Kitimat, Vanderhoof and Prince Rupert.