The majority of Vernon city council has voted to cap the number of pot shops in the city’s downtown core at six.
“We had a lot of people tell us they don’t want to see downtown as a cannabis dispensary area, shop after shop,” said councillor Akbal Mund, who supported the cap.
“We’ve had a lot of residents and business owners complain about how many dispensaries we had in the past. I think we had nine in the downtown area.”
Downtown Vernon is no stranger to pot shops. Before legalization, the mostly-unregulated shops were common.
However, most shut down after legalization and now the city is moving to avoid the same situation with licensed legal stores.
WATCH: Cannabis studies interest Okanagan residents (November 2018)
The six-store limit downtown will last for one year, once all the shops are open, and then council will reassess the cap.
The city may be close to hitting that cap.
Four downtown pot shop locations have already received city support and two others are set to come before council in the future.
However, they all still need the green light from the province before they open for business, and that’s not guaranteed.
While some think the city is going too far, others would like to see even fewer pot shops downtown.
Maureen Krause, who owns H.M. Krause Jewellers in downtown Vernon, believes the city should limit the number of shops downtown to three.
“We found people are intimidated by someone walking down the street that is actually smoking pot,” said Krause.
“When we first moved in here, we actually had [to] ask people to leave the bench [outside our store] where they were coming straight out and rolling or trying to smoke it.”
Civic rules already outlaw smoking anything, including a joint, within six metres of a door.
A proponent of one of the proposed downtown stores wrote to the city to make it clear the shop is eager to work with neighbouring businesses to minimize disruption.
Throughout Vernon the city has, so far, supported 10 pot shop applications. None have yet received approval from the province.
© 2019 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.