The owner of the Squires Four Pub in Vernon has applied to the Regional District of North Okanagan to operate a cannabis retail outlet from the building. (Google Maps)

Smooth sailing at public hearing for ‘rural’ Vernon’s first pot shop

If RDNO OKs Squires Four’s cannabis retail store, it advances to the province for approval

Squires Four Public House may soon be known for more than just its liquor store and good eats. Soon, the pub and liquor store on Stickle Road may be home to a pot shop as well.

The Regional District North Okanagan (RDNO)’s Electoral Area Advisory Committee hosted a public hearing at 2 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 4, but no members of the public attended to bring forward concerns about the rural district’s first non-medical cannabis store.

Instead, the Board of Directors took a moment to ask the applicants some interesting questions regarding the regulations surrounding the legislation and legalization of cannabis.

“God knows whats going to change with the law,” applicant Serry Massoud said. “Every day, they change the law.”

READ MORE: Vernon pub applies for cannabis retail outlet

Massoud is referring to the intricacies of the regulations of the still stigmatized product.

Before Massoud can open a cannabis store in the Squires Four building, he must first get the support of the RDNO and the directors will then forward the application onto the Liquor and Cannabis Regulation Branch (LCRB).

Massoud told directors that any customer that appears to be under the age of 25 must present two pieces of identification and the staff will be thoroughly trained, as per the provincial standards.

He said representatives from different cannabis companies assist in product knowledge training with staff—educating staff on the effects of CBD and THC and the different levels present in each strain the company offers.

Although he struggled with his pot jargon, he said he had a good explanation:

“I never tried it,” he said. “I’ve never eaten it, I’ve never smoked it.

“You don’t know what you’re missing,” one director joked.

Directors asked about the quantity, quality and cost of products for sale, if Massoud’s shop is green-lighted.

Massoud explained there is no limit of purchase set, but chairman Rick Fairbairn corrected him, noting the 30-gram possession limit outlined in the Cannabis Distribution Act. Massoud said a variety of products would be for sale, if the licence allows for it, including edibles, but he noted that only accessories related to the consumption of the product are allowed to be retailed.

“Can’t sell cigarettes, or T-shirts,” he said. “Only what people use with the product.”

In terms of cost, Massoud explained the Squires Four cannabis shop would offer fair prices for the Vernon market.

“The selling price is marked up only around 25 to 30 per cent from the government cost,” he said, comparing it to the astronomical 35 to 50 per cent markup common in Vancouver.

“This is the first (application) we’ve had to deal with,” chairman Fairbairn said.

“It looks like you’re on the right track,” he added.

If approved, the Squires Four cannabis store would be operational seven days a week between the hours of 9 a.m. and 11 p.m. The same hours as the cold beer store, Massoud said.

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