Vernon cannabis deadline looms

Four operations have until Friday to register covenant on properties or else face enforcement

Friday is deadline day for a handful of cannabis retailers.

The City of Vernon has given four operations until Friday to cease cannabis sales.

In accordance with council’s direction of Nov. 14, 2017, all cannabis retailers that were in operation in the city prior to that date were given the opportunity to apply for a temporary use permit and business license provided they registered a Section 219 covenant on their property agreeing to close if zoning did not support cannabis retail sales at that location. This approach enables cannabis retailers to continue operating until federal Bill C-45 and related provincial and municipal regulations are adopted.

Given concerns that existing cannabis retailers may be able to argue “grandfathered” status if they are allowed to remain open as the legislation is passed, many communities are closing the shops altogether.

“Council’s approach ensures that participating cannabis retailers in Vernon have an opportunity to remain open, and that council will ultimately have control over where in Vernon the shops are permitted to operate long term,” said the city in a press release.

Of the four cannabis retailers that did not register the covenant, three have agreed to close or discontinue sales altogether. The fourth, an online delivery-only retailer, has not agreed and is subject to enforcement proceedings which is a fine of $1,000 per day.

* A Section 219 covenant is an agreement between a local government and the owner of land, in which the owner’s rights to use, build on, or subdivide the land are defined in order to further a public purpose.

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