FORT ST, JOHN, B.C. – City of Fort St. John staff are recommending that Council not create a special business licensing schedule for cannabis retail operators to pay once the substance becomes legal in Canada in October.
On July 23rd, Council voted in favour of a zooming amendment bylaw that would only allow cannabis retail operations in the City’s downtown core area, provided the property where they are situated is 200 metres from the closest school and 100m from the nearest park.
In a presentation that is due to be delivered to Council next Monday during the Committee of the Whole meeting, staff outline the potential for the City to limit the number of cannabis retail licenses that can be issued, or whether an increase in business license fees for that use is warranted.
In her report, City Planner Ashley Murphey recommends that no cap be placed on the total number of Cannabis Retail business licences that are issued, and that business licensing fees remain the same at $125.00 for all businesses within the City.
Murphey explains in her report that “a review of potential costs associated with the new use “Cannabis Retail” was conducted and it was determined that there is currently insufficient evidence to warrant an increase in fees, as it is likely this business will generate the same level of administrative costs as any other retail business.”
The presentation also includes statistics from other municipalities in B.C. and Alberta regarding their proposed business license fees for cannabis retail.
The communities of Chetwynd, Hudson’s Hope, and Tumbler Ridge currently have not announced an increase from their standard business fees, which range from $50 to $150.
Both Dawson Creek and Grande Prairie have announced that cannabis retail business licenses will cost $2,500/year, due to an anticipated increase in administrative and enforcement costs.
Higher still are the fees in North Vancouver and Squamish, which are $3,691 and $5,000/year respectively.
The Village of Pouce Coupe is currently in the process of amending its business license bylaw, with proposed fees of between $5,000 and $10,000 per year.