File photo Parksville has had two referrals of retail cannabis licence applicants asking for a positive recommendation, which they need before getting a licence to operate there.

Retail pot business interest in Parksville

City gets two referrals for licences; QB expected to have first cannabis store soon

Some communities around the country have seen retail pot shops open since legalization on Wednesday, but Parksville won’t give the green light for retail cannabis businesses until at least Jan. 31.

However, there’s already some serious interest.

Those looking to open a retail cannabis store must apply for a cannabis retail store licence through the Liquor and Cannabis Regulation Branch of the B.C. government. Those applications are then referred to municipalities or First Nations awaiting a positive recommendation.

As of Oct. 16, the LCRB had 173 applications with the fees paid, though only 62 of those were complete applications, and were then referred to municipalities.

Nineteen of those were referred to local governments in the Vancouver Island/Powell River/Gulf Islands region.

Parksville received two referrals in September, said Deb Tardiff, manager of communications with the city.

Since then, council has given city staff direction on bylaws, policies and public education.

“Referral applications will be processed no sooner than January 31, 2019,” she said.

Qualicum Beach, on the other hand, may be getting their first retail cannabis store before then. However, it will likely be the only retail store in the town for two years.

In August, the town announced it would kick off a 24-month pilot project for a retail cannabis store at the old fire hall (124 Harlech Rd.). As a town-owned building, the town will be the business’ landlord, thereby giving the town more control and insight into the business.

QualiCanna Ltd. will get a 24-month temporary-use permit to run, as Qualicum Beach zoning bylaws don’t allow cannabis sales anywhere within the town.

In an August interview, town CAO Daniel Sailland said the store would be expected to open close to the federal legalization date of Oct. 17.

The town did not respond for a request for information on any other licence referrals it has received from the LCRB, or on an opening date for the QualiCanna store by press time.

Despite a dearth of retail cannabis shops in Parksville and Qualicum Beach, that doesn’t mean people can’t buy cannabis right from their home.

British Columbians 19 years of age and older can purchase non-medical cannabis online from www.bccannabisstores.com, according to a news release from the Ministry of Attorney General.

“The Liquor Distribution Branch has entered into a contract with Canada Post to deliver online cannabis orders to customers,” it reads.

“Keeping cannabis out of the hands of minors was a key consideration for the LDB in appointing a third-party delivery provider. Canada Post will undertake age-verification checks in the event that a customer appears to be under the age of 25 years. If age verification fails, the product will be returned to the LDB and full purchase price and associated taxes will be refunded.

“Customers will pay a $10 shipping fee when ordering from BC Cannabis Stores’ online store. Online orders will be shipped from the LDB’s distribution centre within 48 business hours of the order being placed.”

The news release notes that, in the coming months, as private retailers progress through the permit process, they’ll be able to sell dried cannabis, cannabis oils, capsules and seeds that comply with federal requirements, as well as cannabis accessories such as rolling papers, pipes and bongs.

For more info, go to getcannabisclarity.ca.

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