Trees Island Grown is applying for a 101-square metre cannabis retail store at 1483 Bowen Rd. The property has been the site of a medical marijuana dispensary since 2014. CHRIS BUSH/The News Bulletin

Proposed cannabis retail stores moving through City of Nanaimo processes

Public hearing for four proposed cannabis stores set for May 3

Residents will get the chance to share their thoughts about four more proposed cannabis retail stores for Nanaimo as the marijuana marketplace continues to change.

Nanaimo councilors voted to send proposals for cannabis retail stores at 25 Front St., 3923 Victoria Ave., 1483 Bowen Rd. and 510 Fifth St. to a public hearing during a council meeting on April 1. Councillors gave first and second reading to all four proposals. Public hearings for all of the proposed cannabis retail stores will be held in May.

According to city documents, the proposal for 25 Front St., once the site of the Globe Hotel, calls for a 140-square metre cannabis retail store. Submitted by Richard Scott Enterprises, the cannabis store would be open from 9 a.m. until 10 p.m. seven days a week.

Alex Robb, owner of Trees Island Grown, is proposing a 101-square metre cannabis retail store at 1483 Bowen Rd. The property has been the site of a medical marijuana dispensary, known as Trees Dispensary, since 2014. Trees Island Grown would be open from 9 a.m. until 11 p.m. daily according to the city.

Robb is also the applicant behind a proposed cannabis retail store at 510 Fifth St., located beside Shoppers Drug Mart at University Village Shopping Centre. According to the city, the store would be 175 square metres and open from 9 a.m. until 11 p.m. daily.

Meanwhile, Mood Cannabis Company is proposing to establish a 73-square metre cannabis retail store at 3923 Victoria Ave., near Country Club Centre. According to city documents, a section of the proposed store will include an “education” area. The store would be operational from 9 a.m. to 11 p.m. Monday to Saturday and 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. on Sunday.

Councillors hardly discussed the four proposed cannabis retail stores, instead asking questions around process and policy.

The city has received a total of 16 applications for cannabis retail stores according to Lainya Rowett, manager of current planning with the city. She said in additional to the four proposed cannabis retail stores slated for public hearing on May 3, three other proposed private cannabis stores – 1599 Dufferin Cres, 2220 Bowen Rd. and 111 Nicol St. – have all passed third reading and are awaiting approval from the B.C. Liquor and Cannabis Regulation Branch

Once the applications receive provincial approval, the rezoning applications return to council for final adoption.

The city has also received rezoning applications for two provincially owned B.C. Cannabis Stores.

Rowett said the city requires B.C. Cannabis Store to follow the same process that private cannabis stores are required to follow. She the city isn’t sure when the B.C. Cannabis Store will come before council or when they’ll be operational, adding that the city is hoping to receive more information in the coming weeks.

“We’re hoping to get just enough information from them to be able to make a determination of a timeline so we can bring it forward to council,” Rowett said. “I am hoping it won’t be much longer.”

There is no limit to the number of properties that can be rezoned for cannabis store use according to Rowett. She said while there is no limit, the city’s buffering requirements and regulation on how close stores can be to each other, schools and daycare centres means that at some point the city will run out of room.

“By process of elimination, eventually there won’t be enough space or we will reach a saturation point,” Rowett said.

She said rezoning applications are also done on a first-come, first-served basis, meaning the the city takes whatever application comes first regardless of what the intended use is. She said the city has already had that happen where it received a rezoning application for daycare centre that was located near a proposed cannabis retail store, which had already submitted its application to the city.

“The daycare would have to adjust to the cannabis store,” she said. “Internally, we look at what we received first.”







nicholas.pescod@nanaimobulletin.com 
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