Black Crow Cannabis is just one of Vernon's many pot shops now open in town. (Jennifer Smith - Morning Star)

Cannabis shops paying premium to operate in Vernon

Business licence fee is $2,000, compared to $135 for other businesses

Pressure is growing to get the City of Vernon to ease up on cannabis shops.

The business licence fee for retail cannabis operations is $2,000 annually. The same fee for a similar-sized liquor store licence is $185, and it’s $135 for any other similar sized business with the same designation.

The city claims the higher price for cannabis shops was implemented due to the additional amount of staff time spent in regards to bylaws and planning for such operations.

But now that the initial work has been completed, local cannabis shops are feeling the pinch as they renew their licences.

”Unless the city can demonstrate that retail cannabis shops place undue financial pressure on city resources such as policing or bylaw compliance, then there is no justification for $2,000 a year, particularly at a time when our community and economy depend on recovery from the pandemic,” Greater Vernon Chamber of Commerce president Krystin Kempton said in a letter to Vernon council. “Maintaining such a high business license fee could threaten the viability of entrepreneurs and employment opportunities.”

The chamber is asking the city to initiate a review of business licencing fees for retail cannabis stores.

In comparison to Vernon, Lake Country charges $530.75 for marijuana dispensaries or grow operations, the licence renewal for other storefront businesses is $106.

Penticton charges $185, the same for any other business licence in the city. Summerland charges $400 and in Osoyoos it’s $500.

READ MORE: Some of the region’s lowest retail cannabis license fees are in the South Okanagan

READ MORE: Lumby greenlights Okanagan’s first cannabis business park


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jennifer@vernonmorningstar.com

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