City recieves first application for cannabis store outside of downtown

The City of Fort St. John has received its first application for a cannabis retail store out of the downtown core.

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A white building for Portage Mountain Cannabis in Hudson's Hope.
Portage Mountain Cannabis’ Hudson’s Hope location. (Portage Mountain Cannabis)

FORT ST. JOHN, B.C. — The City of Fort St. John has received its first application for a cannabis retail store out of the downtown core.

The application comes after months of debate between council, business owners and residents concerning extending cannabis licenses outside of the downtown area.

Earlier this week, the city put out a notice to the public about Portage Mountain Cannabis’ intentions to open a location in the city’s C-4 zone, in unit 102, 9536 111th Street.

Residents and owners of businesses located within a 0.8-kilometre radius of the address may comment on this proposal by submitting a letter to the City of Fort St. John in person, by mail or by email at [email protected].

A letter or email must be submitted on or before Friday, June 2nd, 2023.

Initially, after legalization, cannabis retail was limited to the C-2 zone, or the downtown core, in Fort St. John.

Cannabis retail’s expansion comes after monitoring these businesses in the city and high levels of interest from prospective business owners looking for space to set up shop.

The city’s monitoring report, presented last January, showed no negative social or economic impact on provincial or city resources.

It had been argued in previous council meetings that allowing businesses, no matter their product, to open shops on the highway and main roads (which C-3 and C-4 zoning would enable cannabis retailers to do) would harm the character of the downtown core.

However, it had also been argued that not allowing this expansion smothers local business.

After a public hearing, the cannabis zoning expansion was accepted by the city last August.

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