Two cannabis dispensaries that operated in Salmon Arm before legalization will be remain closed for the foreseeable future.
Starbuds Nation, one of the first dispensaries to open prior to legalization, is no more, while city policy and competition has created uncertainty for the future of another shuttered downtown dispensary.
Salmon Arm’s policy on cannabis retail stores states no more than four stores may operate within the downtown commercial core area of the city. These four spots are in the process of being claimed by applicants who have already received initial approval from the city, and are waiting on final provincial approval before receiving business licenses from the city. Eden, Greenery Cannabis Boutique and Salmon Arm Liquor Store Ltd. were the first three to receive city approval, with a fourth store in the former Dough Boys Pizza location also receiving the city’s support.
Seed to Soul’s storefront is located on Hudson Avenue within the downtown core.
City director of development services Kevin Pearson says Seed to Soul has a business license for a retail store. However, “their licence explicitly says that it does not authorize the retail sale of cannabis.” Seed to Soul offered cannabis products in addition to other health and animal-wellness products for pets, but there is no word as to whether they will re-open to focus more on their other products.
Starbuds is not directly impacted by the four-store limit, but faced other issues. The Observer has received confirmation from manager Chris MacMillan that Starbuds will not be reopening.
Pearson notes that unless there is a change to city policy, or other applications do not follow through to completion, new applications for cannabis retail stores in Salmon Arm’s downtown should be held off.
“I would advise the applicant and Liquor-Cannabis Regulation Branch (LCRB) that our four-store limit has been reached for city approvals,” Pearson said. “It would then be the applicant’s risk in making a $1,000 non-refundable application to the city for a city retail cannabis license.”
He also suggests it would be unwise for any business to attempt to sell cannabis out of a retail store without an official licence.
“If they are selling cannabis, then it is ultimately a provincial enforcement matter because they do not have a provincial cannabis retail licence. The LCRB has enforcement personnel to deal with stores selling cannabis without a provincial license, and I assume the LCRB has some collaboration with the RCMP,” he says.
Green Canoe Cannabis in Canoe is the only legal retail cannabis store to date to have opened in the Shuswap.