DISCUSSING CANNABIS Sergio Pawar, left, and Sunny Gill of Highstone Organization have purchased a building in downtown Summerland, where they hope to open a retail cannabis store. (John Arendt/Summerland Review)

Proposed Summerland cannabis location meets existing regulations

Proponents of new business have purchased building and are making renovations for retail store

A proposed retail cannabis store, to be located on Victoria Road North, meets with Summerland’s bylaw and regulations governing such businesses, the owners say.

Sergio Pawar and Sunny Gill of Highstone Organization say they have already purchased the building and are working on renovations for the store.

“We’ve invested into the community,” Pawar said, adding that the cost of the building and renovations will come to around $1 million.

He added that the building location meets the 50-metre buffer from schools, the library, the Aquatic and Fitness Centre and Memorial Park.

“All we’re doing is following the bylaw that was approved,” he said.

Gill added that he and Pawar examined the bylaw before it was passed and used the regulations when selecting their location.

However, a petition circulating in Summerland is asking for additional regulations in an effort to keep retail cannabis shops out of the downtown core.

READ ALSO: Petition urges limits on retail cannabis stores in Summerland

READ ALSO: Regulations vary for cannabis retail stores

The petition calls for a downtown exclusion zone, a 300-metre buffer around schools, Memorial Park and facilities where children will gather and a distance of at least 750 metres between retail cannabis stores.

These changes, if adopted, would allow for just one retail cannabis store in Summerland, at the Summerfair Shopping Plaza.

Under the present regulations, retail outlets are allowed downtown and at the shopping centre, but if the downtown area was excluded, the proposed buffer would make it impossible to have more than one store at the Summerfair Shopping Plaza.

While concerns have been raised about the proximity of retail cannabis stores to schools, Pawar and Gill said statistics suggest cannabis youth among youth decreases when cannabis is legalized.

Gill said studies from Washington State, where cannabis is legal, showed a decrease in use among Grade 8 and Grade 10 students, while the use among Grade 12 students has remained constant.

In Colorado, another state where cannabis has been legalized, adolescent marijuana use is at its lowest level in nearly a decade.

Pawar said the downtown store will add 12 to 15 jobs to the community.

He added that the downtown location will benefit those with mobility problems.

Pawar and Gill will be at the location on Victoria Road North this week. They can also be reached at 604-970-6801.

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