The only Okanagan town or city without any legal pot shops, could finally start accepting applications next week.
Almost two years after the drug became legal in Canada, Peachland officials have devised a policy for assessing proposals from would-be cannabis store owners.
A 150-point scoring matrix is proposed to evaluate the submissions. Considerations will include an assessment of the store’s business plan, security provisions, whether a written strategy to minimize neighbourhood impacts has been submitted, where the owner lives, and whether he or she has a criminal record or previous infractions against town bylaws.
In a report going to council for consideration next Tuesday, town staff propose to accept applications from Sept. 9 through Oct. 31. Five town staff will evaluate the submissions, then present reports and recommendations on each to future council meetings.
Previously, council decided that only two cannabis stores will be permitted in the town of 5,400 people. Town council decided in 2019 that would be a reasonable number since that’s how many liquor stores there are in the town.
One cannabis store will likely be downtown and the other approved location is a strip mall at the corner of Highway 97 and Clements Crescent.
The Okanagan already has 33 legal pot shops, according to the provincial government. The province’s first, in Kamloops, opened upon legalization of the drug in October 2018.
Peachland was in no hurry to approve cannabis stores, despite getting as many as 10 inquires a week as far back as January 2019 from would-be store operators.
A poll conducted by the town in 2019 found only a slight majority of townsfolk favoured allowing pot shops in Peachland. Provincial law gives municipalities the power to regulate cannabis stores, or ban them entirely.