Cannabis retail outlets in Williams Lake may pay lower business license fees in the new year.
If city council adopts a business license amendment bylaw on Dec. 21, 2021 the fee will go from $2,500 to $320, the rate paid by liquor outlets.
During the regular meeting Tuesday, Nov. 23, council gave the amended bylaw first three readings.
The fee change consideration comes after a request for the rate to be lowered was made by Roy Buxbaum, who along with his wife Evelyn, own Daily Stash Cannabis Ltd. at 250 Mackenzie Ave. South in Williams Lake.
Buxbaum told the Tribune Thursday he sincerely appreciated the positive consideration by council of his request.
“It is by far the right thing to do because it will bring us in alignment with liquor establishments,” he said.
Originally the city set the fee at $2,500 due to concerns about the possibility of added policing needed because of cannabis outlets.
In a report to council, however, the city’s chief building inspector Gary Deane noted when the city recently checked with the Williams Lake RCMP, Staff Sgt. Del Byron reported there are very few, if any, policing issues with any of the cannabis stores in the city.
“Based on the last two years, there are less RCMP calls for service related to cannabis retailers compared with liquor stores (which have had incidences of break-ins),” Deane stated.
Some comparisons of business license fees with other jurisdictions were listed in the report.
In Quesnel the fee is $1,500 for cannabis outlets and $75 for liquor outlets, in 100 Mile House it is $500 for cannabis and $120 for liquor, in Prince George it is $1,000 for cannabis and $280 for liquor and in Kamloops it is $5,000 for cannabis and $196.40 for liquor.
The public will have an opportunity to comment on the bylaw at the Dec. 21 meeting.