Williams Lake city council has voted against reducing the business license fee for Cannabis retail outlets to equal that paid by liquor outlets in 2022. (File image)

Williams Lake city council has voted against reducing the business license fee for Cannabis retail outlets to equal that paid by liquor outlets in 2022. (File image)

Williams Lake 2022 cannabis license fees will not be lowered to amount liquor outlets pay

The owners will, however, get the 50 per cent discount all businesses are receiving in 2022

Cannabis retail outlet owners in Williams Lake will not see business license fees reduced to be on par with liquor establishments in 2022.

A motion to adopt an amendment bylaw to reduce the license fee from it present amount of $2,500 down to $320 – the amount liquor establishments are charged – was defeated during the regular council meeting Tuesday, Dec. 21.

Councillors Ivan Bonnell, Marnie Brenner, Jason Ryll and Craig Smith voted against the motion.

Council had been looking at reducing the fee after receiving a request from a Williams Lake business owner in November who argued cannabis license fees should be on par with that of liquor establishments.

Some council members asked city staff to check with the RCMP and in report to council later in November, the city’s building inspector confirmed the RCMP reported few, if any, policing issues with any of the cannabis stores in the city.

Before voting at the council meeting Tuesday, Coun. Smith said the governance committee had discussed the issue and said the city might be looking at increasing the rate liquor outlets pay for business licenses and then having cannabis outlets pay that same rate.

“They should both be at the same level because they are regulated by the same agency,” Smith said.

City council had agreed at a meeting in December to reduce all business license fees for 2022 by 50 per cent. They did the same thing last year as a COVID-19 relief measure, using funds from the province to compensate from the loss of revenue.

So for 2022 the cannabis outlets will pay $1,250.

Arguing in favour of the amendment bylaw Coun. Sheila Boehm said she thought $1,250 was a lot for the cannabis outlets to be paying.

Mayor Walt Cobb said the entire business license bylaw will be reviewed in the new year and its whole fee structure.

Read more: City of Williams Lake aims to lower cannabis retail business license fees for 2022

Read more: Williams Lake eyes reducing $2,500 business license fee for cannabis retail outlets



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