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Kelowna says no to provincial pot shop

The inside of British Columbia's first legal cannabis store is pictured in Kamloops, B.C. Wednesday, Oct. 17, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward

The City of Kelowna says it has rejected a proposed cannabis store that the province was hoping to set up in the city’s Rutland neighbourhood.

The BC Liquor Distribution Branch was proposing to open a BC Cannabis Store in Willow Park Shopping Centre on Highway 33.

READ MORE: Better year ahead for cannabis products, revenue: B.C. solicitor general

But on Monday, Kelowna City Council decided the proposed store was too close to an approved shop on Hollywood Road.

The city’s bylaws say cannabis stores should be at least 500 metres apart and the proposed government store would have been only 110 metres away from the nearest shop.

READ MORE: Employees sought for soon-to-open BC Cannabis Store in Vernon

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The proposed 3,500-square-foot store would have employed around 15 people.

The provincial Liquor Distribution Branch said in a statement that it respects the city’s position and will look for alternative locations.

The province said it already has another approved site in Kelowna, at Dilworth Centre, and remains “committed to a responsible and efficient roll out” of government-run stores to provide a safe supply and to help eliminate illegal sales.

Meanwhile, a proposed private pot shop in the city’s Glenmore neighbourhood is moving ahead to a public hearing.

READ MORE: Okanagan’s first government-run cannabis store opens in Penticton

The public hearing on the proposal by Mojo Cannabis for a shop in a strip mall on Yates Road near Glenmore Road will be held in late March.

According to the province, Kelowna currently has two licenced cannabis shops, both privately operated.

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