Qualicum Beach set to become landlord to pot shop monopoly

QualiCanna Ltd. to be community’s only pot outlet for two-year pilot project

The Town of Qualicum Beach is beginning a 24-month pilot project for a retail cannabis store.

According to a news release from the town, it is leasing a portion of the old fire hall building, located at 124 Harlech Rd., to the “first cannabis retail outlet in Qualicum Beach.” The town is also ensuring it will be the only cannabis retail outlet in Qualicum Beach for two years.

The proponent, QualiCanna Ltd., was selected during a request for proposals for the building in March, 2018. However, the news release reads that the town was “not specifically soliciting retail cannabis proposals, but council ultimately authorized the lease for a number of strategic reasons.”

“Designating a Town-owned building as the first location for marijuana retail sales allows the Town greater oversight and control of its operations, and also provides a revenue stream to support any increased burden on the Town’s bylaw compliance department,” said town CAO Daniel Sailland in the news release.

While Qualicum Beach zoning bylaws don’t allow cannabis sales anywhere within the town, this store will be given a 24-month temporary-use permit.

“The permit will specify conditions to minimize any negative community impact, such as limited hours of operation, restrictions on window displays and indoor/outdoor security,” according to the release.

The town will be monitoring the business and its impact on the surrounding area during the trial period. The town can terminate the lease at any point if the temporary-use permit terms are violated.

After the two-year trial period, the town can consider long-term locations for a marijuana retail outlet.

The news release states that the town does not intend to authorize any additional locations for marijuana stores during the pilot project.

Last fall, Qualicum Beach council voted against issuing a temporary-use permit for a medical marijuana dispensary at 675 Fir St. (to the left of Naked Naturals), with only two councillors, Neil Horner and Bill Luchtmeijer, voting in favour of the permit.

RELATED: Qualicum Beach council looking for input on local dispensary

RELATED: Proposed dispensary ‘too close’ to Kwalikum Secondary School

RELATED: Medical marijuana dispensary denied in Qualicum Beach

Council received public input for the marijuana dispensary that was proposed by VanIsle Wellness Centre Ltd. Some said the location was too close to the high school while others said a medical marijuana facility was needed in the community.

At the time, Sailland said there was nothing illegal with issuing a business licence, but added that if the RCMP had cause for a search warrant they would put an application in through the court system.

Cannabis will be legalized throughout the country Oct. 17.

Send story tips: lauren.collins@pqbnews.com

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