The City of Fernie has unanimously supported their first two referrals from the B.C. Government for privately operated non-medical cannabis retail licenses.

Both applications, which were approved by Fernie City Council on Monday will now return to the Province for final approval.

Mayor Ange Qualizza told MyEastKootenayNow.com that the City of Fernie took a very open approach to cannabis legalization and pursuing the same guidelines and framework as the B.C. Government.

“Before we start creating rules, let’s ask ourselves do we need one,” said Qualizza. “We don’t treat liquor stores any different, so creating separate zoning or capping opportunity on cannabis would be a stretch. I’m not suggesting that we might not end up having those discussions, but right now, the only applicants we’ve had so far were two.”

Stick & Stone Cannabis Co Inc. applied for the first non-medical cannabis retail store at 891 7th Avenue while 1159451 B.C. Ltd. applied for a separate retail store at 1161A 7th Avenue. Stick & Stone Cannabis Co Inc. would brand their store by the same name while 1159451 B.C. Ltd. is proposing their establishment as “Starbuds”.

Qualizza said both applications met all of the Fernie’s zoning and land use criteria, believing both cannabis retail stores will have minimal impacts on the community.

“It’s certainly a product that the government legalized and so for me, I don’t see any real issue with it,” Qualizza told MyEastKootenayNow.com. “Obviously there is a lot of requirements that are set out by the Province to make this as least risky as possible if you will.”

“Council has committed through this entire process to always keep revisiting this set of rules,” added Qualizza. “If we need to interfere or write some regulatory policy to better serve our community, of course, we’re going to do that, but right now we don’t have any of that.”

With no restrictions, save for regular business zoning rules and regulations, both applications will come back to the City of Fernie if they get the green light from the Province. Simply needing to apply for a $100 business license from the City of Fernie if they get that approval, Stick & Stone Cannabis Co and Starbuds would then be able to open their doors and begin operations.

“I’m excited to see these businesses move through that last process,” said Qualizza. “I wish them the best of luck.”

The two referrals are the only the City of Fernie has received since cannabis was legalized October 17, 2018.