Pubdate: Tue, 05 Sep 2017
Source: Daily Courier, The (CN BC)
Copyright: 2017 The Okanagan Valley Group of Newspapers
Author: Ron Seymour
Page: A10


The owners of unlicensed pot shops in West Kelowna could be fined up
to $500 every day they stay open.

New municipal regulations intended principally to drive the pot shops
out of business will be considered today by city council.

Commercial sellers of marijuana do not currently have to obtain a
business licence because they have set up their shops as registered

But the city is moving to close what it sees as a loophole by
requiring all societies that have a streetfront operation o such as a
thrift store, for example o to get a business licence.

It is the city's intention to refuse to grant such permits to
businesses that sell marijuana, on the grounds that such commercial
ventures are illegal.

Assuming the regulation is changed, the question will then become how
such new rules would be enforced. Existing rules are insufficient to
discourage pot shops from staying in business, staff suggest in a
report to council.

"The current business licensing and regulations bylaw does not have
provision for bylaw enforcement to issue a ticket for noncompliance on
a daily basis," legislative services manager Shelley Schnitzler writes
in the report.

"Additionally, the maximum fine that can be issued on a ticket for
operating without a business license is $200," she writes.

Staff's suggestion is council approve bylaw changes so officers could
issue a fine every day that a business without a licence continues to
operate. A second suggestion is the maximum fine be raised from $200
to $500.

Like other municipalities, West Kelowna has been vexed by the
proliferation of pot shops in advance of the federal government's
expected legalization of the drug. Operators of such shops have been
essentially betting that they will be allowed to remain open, and stay
where they are once marijuana is legalized.

Earlier this year, council heard there were six pot shops in West
Kelowna. Once the drug becomes legalized, West Kelowna's intention is
to restrict businesses that sell pot to industrial areas, as well as
to apply other regulations such as requirements for comprehensive
air-filtration and security systems.
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