The City of Port Alberni is one step closer to welcoming cannabis retail stores.
City council will hold a public hearing on Monday, Feb. 4 to receive feedback on a proposed zoning amendment, which will eliminate medical marijuana dispensaries and replace them with cannabis retail stores.
City staff have proposed removing the 1,000-metre separation requirement for retail stores, although the stores are still not permitted within 300 metres of a school.
The zoning amendment has been reviewed by School District 70 board staff, the Advisory Planning Commission and city council, and only has to go through a public hearing before it can be adopted.
Bylaw services manager Flynn Scott said that the city has so far received three formal applications from three private cannabis retailers. The city has also heard interest from the provincial government, but the BC Liquor Distribution Branch is not required to submit an application before opening a store in town.
Former medical marijuana dispensaries in Port Alberni have been open but not selling cannabis products after two retailers were raided on legalization day last year.
Other municipalities on Vancouver Island have already been giving the go-ahead for retailers. Stellar Jay Organics in Port Hardy became the Island’s first approved cannabis shop earlier this month. Just last week, the City of Campbell River also officially approved its first cannabis retail store.
Port Alberni’s public hearing will take place on Monday at 6 p.m. in council chambers.