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Cap on cannabis licences could be removed

The City of Grande Prairie is taking the next step towards possibly removing the cap on the number of cannabis retailers in the area. Council has asked that an amending bylaw be brought to the next committee meeting that would remove the 15 licence cap.

CannaCulture Ltd.’s Senior Vice President Carter Dombrova says he considers council’s decision to possibly reevaluate the cap a win.

“Overall we saw last night as a success,” he noted after Monday’s city council meeting. “Up until this point, either half or over half of the council was voting no on any amendment to the cap or any amendment on the lottery. Last night we saw that 7 councillors all voted yes on bringing that amendment to committee and then back to council.”

CannaCulture currently sits in the 23rd spot out of a total of 27 businesses hoping to open up shop in Grande Prairie. Dombrova says he hopes the city removes the cap but only gives licenses to the 27 businesses who have already applied at least for the first year.

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“We suggest removing the lottery cap… Only businesses that have had previous correspondence with the city, so the 27 involved in the lottery, would be given due process and opportunity to get a business license.”

The idea for a cap on licences was introduced by Councillor Clyde Blackburn when council was first debating the bylaws surrounding the sale of cannabis. He is now the one asking for the cap to be removed.

“I didn’t take into account the fact that there were retailers who made a considerable investment with the hopes that they win the lottery where the only thing that was being considered was the order that they would be accepted in. Then for them to find out that they may not get a licence because of the cap it concerned me… I believe that I need to revisit this myself and suggest that council as a whole also do the same.”

No decision can be made until an amendment to the bylaw is brought before an Infrastructure and Protective Services Committee for review. Blackburn hopes it can then be brought before council in time for the September 10 meeting.

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