The Village of Burns Lake is examining its approach to retail cannabis regulations.
The move comes in response to some local interest in opening cannabis shops.
“A few people have called to enquire about the regulations regarding starting up a retail cannabis store,” as Sheryl Worthing, Chief Administrative Officer told Lakes District News.
At the village council’s Sept. 10 meeting, Worthing explained that one possibility is incorporating retail cannabis regulations into the village’s Liquor License Policy, which would allow for more flexibility than making a new bylaw.
Three sets of existing village bylaws would relate to retail pot.
“The zoning bylaw already captures regulations on retail sales in general and the Business License Bylaw captures actual business regulation. The policy will capture any regulations council could require on cannabis directly, just as it currently does with liquor sales,” Worthing said.
If the village chooses to fold cannabis rules into the liquor license policy, a prospective weed shop owner would have to apply for a license and go through an assessment process. Part of that includes a presentation of the application to the village council and the holding of a public hearing to gather opinions on how the application would impact the community.
Applications for non-medical cannabis shops also must be approved by the provincial Liquor and Cannabis Regulation Branch and pass its security screenings and financial integrity checks.
Details on how the regulations might play out were not yet known and the village council is awaiting a report with recommendations in October.
Burns Lake has yet to join the trend of new cannabis retail shops, following the legalization of recreational cannabis almost one year ago.
Elsewhere in the northwest, licensed weed shops have opened up in Terrace and Prince George, with new shops ready to open or going through the application process in Kitimat, Smithers, Vanderhoof and Prince Rupert.
While the plant that Nation Cannabis is building near Decker Lake is set to become the largest production facility in northwestern British Columbia, the company has no plans to open a retail shop.
The firm will sell most of its harvest to the province of British Columbia, which will then pass it onto licensed cannabis stores.