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City weed rules please potential retailers

Entrepreneurs looking to be part of the first wave of retail cannabis stores now know how the city will handle the budding industry.

Grande Prairie city council decided Monday night that they would allow up to 15 business licenses during the first year of legalization and only one per company. After the first council meeting where bylaws were debated council had decided they would limit the licenses to just ten with a maximum of two per corporate entity.

Tia Chabot of Haze Inc says this is a much more reasonable approach. She says people have already invested a lot of time and money getting their conditional approval from the AGLC.

“It opens up the free market. Now we have 15 independent business people vying for people to come to our store versus having a monopoly that’s very condensed in Grande Prairie.”

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Chabot also says with the city’s plans to do a lottery for the licenses this increases everyone’s odds. At Monday’s council meeting administration said they are expecting around 20 applicants but that number could change.

She says the other retailers that were at council seemed to be feeling good as well.

“You could see them secretly high fiving and so you knew that it was a win for all of us. There was, I think, six or seven of us in the room with our companies and we would have already been outbid with the ten and two plan.”

Chabot also says now that there is a clear plan from the municipality this will help them all take the steps they need to finalize their approval with AGLC.

“So then we can submit that [plan] to AGLC to be guaranteed a license. At this point, nobody has a guaranteed license. We just have approval to gain municipal approval to be granted a license. It’s a very back and forth process.”

Previously, Chabot talked about the AGLC applications process. Something she called “quite intense.”

Overall Cabot says she thinks city council was able to strike an appropriate balance. She says their approach supports the idea that the city is an innovative, business-friendly place.

“It just goes to show that while Grande Prairie does want to take a cautious approach they are allowing 15 independent businesses the opportunity for a free market and we are all young entrepreneurs.”

She says the industry is full of passionate business owners who are all excited about the opportunities before them.

The Senate was debating bill C45 Tuesday. It is unclear exactly when the feds legalization plans will be finalized, though it is expected to be sometime this summer.

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