The Village of Pemberton (VOP) council will consider an application from the owners of the Pemberton Hotel to open the Village's first recreational cannabis retail shop at next Tuesday's regular council meeting, Nov 27.
"We're applying to open a cannabis store in the near future," explained Kostya De, whose family has owned the Pemberton Hotel, The Prospect Pub, and the liquor store inside of the pub since 2014.
"We have an empty commercial space that's not in use, so we (want) to use that as a cannabis store," said De, adding that it faces Frontier Street.
De said he believes that a cannabis store could be a profitable business in Pemberton, and that the market for recreational cannabis is likely to grow.
"Since it's allowed and legal, people are going to be (increasingly) participating in (it)," he said.
"We feel like it's a good opportunity ... Hopefully it's going to be a good business."
While the licensing of cannabis shops is ultimately granted by the province's Liquor and Cannabis Regulation Branch (LCRB), the application process gives municipalities the ability to turn down applications.
De and his father have already applied to the LCRB for a license. If the VOP decides not to make a recommendation of support, the LCRB will not consider the Des' application any further.
In an emailed statement to Pique, a VOP spokesperson said that, "The two main factors that will be assessed (are) the proposed location (if that use is permitted in the proposed location) and the comments (and) feedback received from nearby residents (and) businesses.
"If the views of nearby residents are supportive, the Village may send a positive recommendation to the LCRB, and the application will continue to be processed by the province. If the views are not supportive, the Village may not send a positive recommendation to the LCRB and the application will be halted."
De, for his part, feels that he and his father are well qualified to run the Village's first legal weed shop.
"We run a liquor store and a bar, so we think a cannabis store would be appropriate to run as well," he said.
"I think it's going to be pretty similar, so I think we can manage it."
De said that their experience with liquor laws is an asset and that it will be very important to manage cannabis by the book.
"We will be able to follow the law," he said. "It's very important."
At this time, it is not clear what the store would offer in terms of product. "We don't know for sure because we still haven't got a license," said De.
The application has cost around $7,000 in total, "and we're not sure we're even getting it or not," added De.
The Village charges a $500 referral assessment fee, outside of the Provincial application fee, to consider applications. The $500 covers the cost of advertising and notifications. According to the VOP spokesperson, if a license is eventually approved, the "applicant would be required to purchase a Village Business Licence in the amount of no less than $1,500."
De said the business would employ between five and 10 people, though he and his father have not yet determined the rate of pay.
"We don't know yet, because it's a different industry," he explained.
As set out in the Village's recreational cannabis retail policy, passed in October 2018, the Village has restricted cannabis retail stores to the town centre and capped the maximum allowable number of stores to two.
It has also set distancing requirements of 150 metres from key areas, such as licenced daycares, libraries, schools and community centres, and limited operating hours to between 9 a.m. and 9 p.m.
The Des' application will be considered at council chamber (7400 Prospect Street) at 9 a.m. on Tuesday, Nov. 27.
Pemberton residents may provide comment in person or through a written submission to Lisa Pedrini (firstname.lastname@example.org), senior planner at the VOP, by noon on Monday, Nov. 26.