Possible retail cannabis store in the Houston Mall

Houston residents will soon have a chance to have their say in plans to open a retail cannabis store in the Houston Mall, a first for the community.

The District of Houston council July 21 gave the go-ahead to solicit opinion, the first step toward deciding on a licencing application made by Rural Leaf Ltd. which opened its first retail location last fall in Smithers.

“Council has directed staff to arrange for public consultation to occur,” said District Chief Administrative Officer Gerald Pinchbeck.

“Public notice will be issued online and in the paper outlining how residents can participate and submit feedback on the proposal to the District prior to the District considering whether to support or deny the application.”

Following the legalization of cannabis by the federal government, the District in 2018 permitted the location of cannabis retail stores in the downtown core and followed that with a policy for reviewing licence applications referred to the District by the province.

Rural Leaf’s chosen location is in a unit right beside the mall’s Twelfth Street entrance, immediately beside the Canada Post outlet and across from the provincial liquor store.

“[District] staff do not foresee any significant impacts to traffic, access, or parking as a result of this application,” Pinchbeck noted in a four-page memo to council.

“The location near the existing BC Liquor Store and the post office further reduce security risks at this location as these areas have their own existing security protocols in place which deter criminal activity.”

Cannabis store employees do have to undergo a security clearance and area required to notify provincial regulators if they are arrested or charged for designated offences.

In addition to seeking public comment and opinion, council does have the option of requesting Rural Leaf officials to a meeting to speak to their application.

With plans for seeking public opinion in hand, Pinchbeck did not recommend a public hearing or a referendum, indicating a referendum would cost $$10,000 and involve significant staff time to organize.

Provincial regulators must receive the approval of the District prior to issuing a retail licence and those regulators are now assessing the application, something that includes persons associated with the retail store proposal.

One of the Rural Leaf partners, Alfred Shaefer, said expanding from Smithers into Houston is a natural extension to serve its customer base.

“It is much nicer to be able to go down to the mall as opposed to driving all the way to Smithers for legal cannabis,” he said. “Houston is also close to home for us and we would rather expand locally than head off to parts unknown.”

Depending upon the timing of licensing procedures, he’s tagged mid-October as a target opening date.

Cannabis outlets are obligated to buy their product from the provincial B.C. liquor and cannabis distribution centre.

Shaefer anticipates an indigenous-owned cultivation facility now under development in Burns Lake will be a supplier.

“Nations Cannabis is on track to become a federally-licensed producer and we will definitely be stocking up on their products once they hit the market,” he said, adding that Rural Leaf will buy from any other legal producer in the northwest.

Rural Leaf estimates it will need up to four employees in Houston.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

The Dupras family has been regulars at the Babine River and have seen plentiful grizzlies over the years. (Jay Dupras photo/Lakes District News)
A family’s close encounter with a grizzly on Babine River bridge

Photo-enthusiasts let the bear access the bridge for photos putting others at risk

The Burns Lake RCMP is investigating the incident. (Phil McLachlan photo)
Fatal collision between a pedestrian and train near Burns Lake

Police say the investigation is still ongoing

Stikine provincial election candidates (clockwise from top left): Nathan Cullen, NDP; Darcy Repen, Rural BC Party; Rod Taylor, Christian Heritage; and Gordon Sebastian, BC Liberals.
‘Where is Annita McPhee?’: Cullen under fire from opening salvo of all-candidates forum

Four Stikine candidates spar during online debate from Prestige Hudson Bay Lodge in Smithers

(Wet'suwet'en Access Point on Gidimt'en Territory Facebook screenshot)
Ceremony a right at proposed CGL pipeline drill site: BC Union of Indian Chiefs

Indigenous land defenders cannot be criminalized and targeted, argues UBCIC

(File graphic)
Man dies in Gitlaxt’aamiks (New Aiyansh) after being taken into police custody

IIO and BC Corners Service conducting independent investigations

Working smoothly together on May 11, 2020, health minister Adrian Dix, B.C. Liberal health critic Norm Letnick, provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry and sign language interpreter Nigel Howard. (B.C. government video)
COVID-19 co-operation a casualty of B.C.’s pandemic election

NDP’s Horgan weaponizes senior care, B.C. Liberal Wilkinson calls for ‘wartime economy’

The official search to locate Jordan Naterer was suspended Saturday Oct. 17. Photo courtesy of VPD.
‘I am not leaving without my son,’ says mother of missing Manning Park hiker

Family and friends continue to search for Jordan Naterer, after official efforts suspended

A bear similar to this black bear is believed responsible for killing a llama in Saanich on Oct. 19. (Black Press Media file photo)
Vancouver Island residents warned to watch livestock, pets after bear kills llama

Officers could not track the bear they feel may not fear humans

Bernard Trest and his son Max, 10, are concerned about B.C.’s plan for students in the classroom. He was one of two fathers who filed a court application in August to prevent schools from reopening if stricter COVID-19 protections weren’t in place. That application was dismissed last week. (Contributed photo)
B.C. dad pledges to appeal quashed call for mandatory masks, distancing in schools

Bernard Trest and Gary Shuster challenged health, education ministries’ return-to-school plan

RCMP crest. (Black Press Media files)
RCMP cleared in fatal shooting of armed Lytton man in distress, police watchdog finds

IIO spoke to seven civillian witnesses and 11 police officers in coming to its decision

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

A 34-year-old man was treated for a gunshot wound in Williams Lake Monday, Oct 19, 2020. (Angie Mindus photo - Williams Lake Tribune)
Williams Lake man treated for gunshot wound after accidental shooting: RCMP

Police are reminding residents to ensure firearms are not loaded when handling them

A injection kit is seen inside the newly opened Fraser Health supervised consumption site is pictured in Surrey, B.C., Tuesday, June 6, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
B.C. records 127 fatal overdoses in September, roughly 4 each day

Vancouver, Surrey and Victoria continued to see the highest numbers of overdoses

Investigators work at the Sagmoen farm in Silver Creek. - Image credit: Observer file photo.
Sex workers allegedly called to farm of Okanagan man convicted of assault, RCMP investigating

Curtis Sagmoen, convicted in relation to assault of sex trade workers, is prohibited from soliciting escorts

Most Read