City prepares for marijuana legalization

The City of Kelowna is moving forward in preparing for the legalization of marijuana.

At Monday's meeting, council will be asked to make changes to a zoning bylaw, which will explicitly add references that forbid the retail sale of marijuana.

The changes would be to specify that convenience stores, retail stores, and both clinics and stores related to healthcare would not be allowed to sell or dispense marijuana.

The report from staff points out that several businesses have opened up in Kelowna in anticipation of the legalization of marijuana - a decision the city is calling premature, considering the federal and provincial governments haven't released new legislation.

What Canadian municipalities do have to work with is a report from a federal task force, which says businesses that sell pot should be legalized by the feds and regulated by the provinces, who will then collaborate with the specific municipalities.

The task force is recommending that marijuana not be sold in the same places as booze or smokes, and that the stores are a certain distance away from schools and parks.

The report says the city expects the new laws will likely require potential retailers to get a special zoning, like a liquor primary for a bar, as well as stay off main stretches, like Bernard, Ellis, and Pandosy.