Vernon’s cannabis culture is growing like a weed.
Currently there are two licensed retail cannabis stores in town, but that number could sprout to more than 20.
The City of Vernon has received 22 referrals so far.
“Of the 22 applications that council has received to date, it has given a positive recommendation on 16 of them,” the city’s director of Community Infrastructure and Development Kim Flick said.
Applications range from a B.C. government store at 2401 58th Avenue—near the Liquor Depot and Sleep Country—to Cannabis Cowboy in the Fruit Union Plaza. There’s also an application for a shop in the old Toro’s Pub called Pinnacle and one in the former Flaman Fitness store on Highway 97 next to the Blue Stream Motel called Quantum.
Vernon has limited the number of stores permitted in the downtown core—a defined business improvement area—to six. But there are currently 10 referrals for that area. The city also put a cap on referrals, for now, and will not be looking at anymore.
The latest referral endorsed by Vernon is on Anderson Way, near Lake City Casino.
Although, at least one neighbouring business fears the store could deter families from its own operation.
Family First Optometry’s Cynthia Wills started the clinic four years ago and holds a long-term lease in the same building as the proposed Bogart shop.
“Our concerns would match those of any small childcare facility, NONA-type child health service centre and or a pediatrician’s clinic,” Wills said.
The application is pending approval from the province.
So far, nine stores have been approved in principal by the province, including the Greenhorn and Spiritleaf, which have had final approval, acquired business licenses and are now operational.
The other stores awaiting final approvals are: Flora Recreational Cannabis (4412 27th St. complex next to Parnell’s) a second Flora (5301 25th Ave. in the Okanagan Landing Plaza), Vernon Cannabis Store (3004 31st Ave. near the downtown transit station), a second Vernon Cannabis Store (2813 35th St. behind Teeter Totter Toys), the Hive (3301 30th Ave. main street in the new outlets under construction), Your Legal Cannabis Store (3300 31st Ave. former Legion building) and Black Crow (2808 48th Ave, already established).
Referrals have also been received by Eden (3109 30th Ave. shop already established), Completely Cannabis (3116 30th Ave. near Harris Flower Shop), Liht (3315 30th Ave. near Bamboo Beach), Zen Cana (2913 30th Ave. former Cracked Pot Coffee), Blended Buds Cannabis (5601 Anderson Way, near Bulk Barn), Canna Cabana (4400 32nd St. Vernon Square Plaza) and Arcannabis Store (3307 32nd Ave. near On the Roxx).
The first six in the business improvement area are: both Vernon Cannabis stores, The Hive, Zen Canna, Your Legal Cannabis Store and Eden.