The City of Campbell River has officially approved its first legal pot shop.
At this week’s meeting of city council, the application for a non-medical cannabis retailer in Willow Point was given the go ahead, meaning the application will now go back to the province for the issuance of its final license to operate.
The application was made by Muse Cannabis Stores Ltd. for its Jak’s Beer Wine Spirits location in the Discovery Foods plaza near Coastal Community Credit Union on the South Island Highway.
Muse is a cannabis retail brand developed by Jak’s, which the proponents say will allow them to make use of both their expertise in retail as well as their knowledge and responsible treatment of liquor sales makes them well-suited to branch into the cannabis market.
“The government’s approach to retail cannabis closely resembles their approach to liquor,” the application says. “Muse cannabis intends to take what it has learned over the decades with respect to retail operations, compliance and sales of a controlled substance,” into the cannabis market.
The location of the proposed storefront is outside council’s stated zoning boundary of 300 m from a school, and since no other stores are operating yet, it’s obviously outside the boundary of 300 m from another cannabis retailer.
The applicant does not need to install more parking stalls, as the regulations for the number of stalls necessary is the same as for liquor stores.
After receiving notice of the proposal, some nearby residents did express their opposition to the application, mainly surrounding the possibility of increased traffic and trespassers on the multi-family residential property behind the proposed store, but city staff says the property is zoned Commercial Two, which permits this use, fits within all other restrictions set by council and the province, and the application has been vetted by the RCMP, Bylaw Enforcement and Building Inspection departments, who had no concerns.
“The premises are situated in a neighbourhood that has a mix of commercial and residential uses and is a designated Village Centre in a commercial complex with an existing high level of commercial activity,” the staff report on the application reads. “While there are residential properties in the vicinity, there is no impact expected on these dwellings.”
There is no timeline yet for when the retail outlet will be operational, as it still needs to be granted official approval by the Liquor and Cannabis Regulation Branch before being issued a license, but it has officially passed the final hurdle in acquiring city approval by receiving council support on Monday night.
Other applications are currently also awaiting approval by the city. Watch the Mirror for updates on those when they become available.