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Langford could soon be seeing its first retail cannabis store

Clarity Cannabis BC Ltd. gets province’s approval
(Black Press file photo)

Langford is a few steps closer to seeing the first recreational cannabis store to open in the city.

According to a report from the Planning, Zoning and Affordable Housing committee agenda issued this week, Clarity Cannabis BC Ltd. has obtained the necessary provincial approvals to look at opening a store in Langford.

The report was expected to be discussed at the Feb. 11 committee meeting which was cancelled due to snow.

Langford Mayor Stew Young said all that’s left is for the business to receive a temporary use permit from council and then it will be able to start setting up shop in the city.

Ahead of cannabis legalization, Langford sent out a request for proposals from businesses keen on opening a dispensary. The city put five names forward to the province for approval.

Clarity Cannabis BC Ltd. is the first successful applicant to pass the provincial approval process which involved financial integrity checks and security screenings of the business and the people associated with it.

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The business has plans to open a retail store at 101-693 Hoffman Ave. The location would be just off Veteran’s Memorial Parkway, near Boston Pizza and the West Shore RCMP detachment.

“You know I’m very comfortable with anybody that wants to operate right beside a police station,” Young said. “The committee has done a pretty good job… they’ve vetted locations through the RCMP.”

The City of Langford has its own guidelines for what makes an acceptable location for a non-medical cannabis retail store. The guidelines state how far a store should be from places like schools, parks, day cares, lakes and residential areas excluding the ones in the City Centre.

The location selected by Clarity Cannabis BC Ltd. is within the designated city centre. It is about 850 metres away from Savory Elementary School, 150 metres away from Veteran’s Memorial Park and the closest daycare is 160 metres away.

Young said each applicant that responded to the city’s request for proposals also addressed how they would approach educational initiatives, security, nuisance issues and minimizing neighbourhood impacts.

The applicants contributed to a fund that helped the city hire an RCMP liaison officer that will work with the stores and the community on education.

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“We want to make sure everyone is aware of the regulations…and they could change,” Young said. “It’s always good to have somebody there that could answer questions for the public.”

Young said the city is being proactive and is also making sure taxpayers will not pay for problems that may arise with the sale of non-medical cannabis.

“The federal government has given me zero dollars…so people get to open the store but there could be a cost to the city which I believe there will be,” Young said.

By issuing a temporary use permit to the store, Young said the city will be able to work with the business and discuss what benefits it will give back to Langford.

“The more [they] can contribute towards policing, education and enforcement then obviously that helps stop the taxpayers from paying more,” Young said.

The permit would require the store to follow certain rules like keeping windows opaque and not embellishing them with any imagery.

The store will also be required to have security devices such as window bars or roll shutters installed inside doors or windows.

Hours of operation for the store will be limited between the hours of 9 a.m. and 8 p.m. daily.

With council’s approval, the business would be issued a temporary use permit that will be valid for up to three years.

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