Vernon moves to allow pot shops on main street

Jars of cannabis on the shelf at a Vernon cannabis store in September. Megan Turcato / Global News File

Vernon is poised to allow pot shops on the city’s main street.

It’s part of new zoning rules being finalized for the North Okanagan community.

A zoning bylaw, that would allow cannabis shops in many of the city’s commercial areas including much of the downtown core, has passed third reading.

READ MORE: Why it will likely get harder to buy cannabis in Vernon after legalization

It’s another step towards having provincially licensed recreational cannabis stores open in Vernon.

The city had been a hub for cannabis sales, with a number of storefronts on 30 Avenue, the city’s main street, prior to legalization.

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However, many of the stores have since shut down pending licensing.

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“I think we are well on our way. It has taken some time. It is a whole new process. Quite honestly, I’m quite proud of the way we have been able to react so quickly. It may seem like it has taken some time… but generally, we are working as hard as we can and we are almost there,” Nick Nilsen, the city’s communications director, said.

READ MORE: Vernon deems Main Street pot shop ‘hazardous,’ orders temporary closure

The city believes it will be late January at the earliest before Vernon has a provincially licensed cannabis store.

There are currently only three provincially licensed pot shops in the province: the government store in Kamloops and two private locations in Kimberley.

As a formality, the zoning bylaw still needs to be reviewed by the provincial transportation ministry. It will also go back before council one more time before receiving final approval.

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