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Kelowna approves 15 out of 41 proposed pot shops to move onto next step

Kelowna is on its way to opening legal pot shops within the city limits.
Kelowna is on its way to opening legal pot shops within the city limits. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graeme Roy

The process of having legal marijuana shops in Kelowna is slowly moving forward.

According to a report from city staff, 15 of the 41 first-round applications for marijuana shops in Kelowna have been approved to move forward to the next step: seeking to have their property rezoned.

READ MORE: Where and when pot shops might open in Kelowna

The proposed shops approved to move forward to rezoning were selected by a committee, which scored the applications on issues like location, security and signage.

For instance, applications that were within 150 metres of a major childcare centre, supportive housing complex or bar lost five points.

Because the city is requiring all pot shops to be at least 500 metres from each other, when applications were scored similarly but located too close together, the city held a lottery with a bingo wheel to decide which application would initially get to move ahead.

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There are still a lot of hoops for the applicants to go through before they are potentially allowed to operate legally.

Shops must get approval from Kelowna city council to rezone their property and obtain a provincial licence as well as a city business licence.

Kelowna city council is expected to start considering the rezoning applications later in March.

However, legal marijuana stores are still likely months away, as the city says rezoning can take six to eight months once an application is received, and the applications being processed now were sent in late last year.

The city report doesn’t not say which applicants were approved or name their proposed locations, however it does say that a lottery was held to determine which application would go ahead for the downtown area.

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The city considers this the first round of processing for marijuana storefront applications.

READ MORE: Smoking deals at some Okanagan marijuana dispensaries

At this point, it is only looking at rezoning applications that came in before the end of November last year.

The province has so far issued licences to 14 private cannabis stores provincewide, including one in Salmon Arm and one in Kamloops.

Additionally, the province operates one BC Cannabis Store in Kamloops.

More than four months after marijuana legalization, there are no legal cannabis stores in the Okanagan.