Council will be discussing business licence fees for cannabis stores at their upcoming meeting on Feb. 4. (Vanessa Broadbent photo)
By Vanessa Broadbent
Osoyoos’ first cannabis store opening could be just around the corner and it’s still unclear what business licence fee it’ll pay.
At their meeting last week, town council discussed business licence fees for recreational cannabis stores but were not able to reach a consensus.
With Coun. Myers Bennett not in attendance and the remainder of council split on whether to set the fee at $300 or $500, the decision was postponed to the next meeting on Feb. 4.
Discussion first started in December when town staff asked council to consider reviewing and increasing costs for all business licences. However, with cannabis legalization already in place and three stores currently proposed within town limits, implementing a cannabis sales business licence is timely.
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At the time, council discussed categorizing cannabis sales with liquor sales which currently have a business licence fee of $100, proposed to increase to $500 in 2020.
However, at last week’s council meeting Coun. Brian Harvey argued that drugstores sell controlled substances and pay a licence fee of $300.
“I was pushing $100 last time but when I look at the schedule in more detail, I would suggest that at least then there’s some consistency with the table in my view,” he said.
Coun. C.J. Rhodes agreed, but the motion was opposed by Coun. Jim King and mayor Sue McKortoff, both in favour of a $500 fee.
“There’s rumour that they’re going to be selling cannabis in drugstores, but we haven’t seen anyone come forward with that ask yet so I think it’s hypothetical,” King said.
Without a tie-breaking vote, council eventually decided to table discussion until their next meeting.