The City of Vernon is making changes to its business license bylaw to include fees for pot shops.
Recreational marijuana stores will have to pay a $5,000 application fee and $2,000 a year for a business license.
The City’s Director of Development Kim Flick says the $2,000 annual license fee is the highest the city charges, which also applies to the casino.
“We thought $5,000 was an appropriate (application) fee to start with,” said Flick. We will be tracking our time commitment and seeking a change from council if needed.”
Mayor Akbal Mund says the fees are more than a regular license, but not out of line.
“The initial work required to set up all the bylaws for this, that’s what were looking at right now. So, how much of this are we going to have to go in and check? There’s a lot of work involved to get this all going,” Mund tells Beach Radio News.
The city’s existing cannabis dispensaries have to apply for a temporary use permit, and buy a business license, or the city can shut them down.Vancouver charges an annual license fee of 30-thousand dollars to pot shops.
Mund says there is a limit to how much they can charge.
“You have to treat every business fairly. If it’s a legal business, why would you not treat them fairly? That would be my bottom line. You don’t treat one customer one way, and another customer another way. It doesn’t work,” states Mund.
Councillor Scott Anderson says $2,000 a year seems low to him, considering how high Vancouver’s is.
“But I will defer to staff. They arrived at the figure somehow,” says Anderson.
Director of Development Kim Flick admitted the $5,000 was an “educated guess” on the amount, but added the $30,000 in Vancouver “seemed not appropriate in our context.”
Councillor Bob Spiers says council will have the power to dictate where the stores can be located.
“I always thought a business license was at a certain location, and therefore, if we all of sudden decided it was too near a school later on, could we cancel that business incense? Apparently we have full control over all of this,” says Spiers.