The provincial Liquor Distribution Branch is seeing the grass as potentially very green in North Vancouver in the era of legal marijuana.
The government department is lining up for two of the six potential cannabis retail store licences currently under consideration in the City of North Vancouver.
One of those stores, at 12th Street and Lonsdale Avenue, is proposed to be a 2,900-square-foot government pot shop. The second provincial application is for a government cannabis store at Park & Tilford shopping centre on Brooksbank Avenue. That store is earmarked as a new building in an area of the shopping centre currently used for parking.
The two government-run pot shops would be similar to the government cannabis store already open in Kamloops, said Kate Bilney, spokeswoman with the Liquor Distribution Branch.
The design model is “bright, clean, professional and welcoming,” said Bilney, adding some people have compared it to an Apple computer store. “We’ve got a West Coast chic theme going.”
Cannabis stores are smaller than government liquor stores, said Bilney, because all of the legal weed is stored in the back, and only staff are able to access it. Customers would have access “sniff pods” – securely mounted plastic jars that allow potential purchasers to smell samples of the product and examine bits of bud under a microscope, she added.
The government was just one of five potential cannabis shop operators that hosted a public information meeting Tuesday evening at the John Braithwaite Centre.
Others included City Cannabis, for a store at 725 West 1st St., The Herb Co. for a store at 1717 Lonsdale Ave., Lonsdale Cannabis Co. for a shop at 315 Lonsdale Ave., and 1st Cannabis for a store at the site of the current Sailor Hagar’s liquor store at 221 West 1st St.
Of those, City Cannabis run by Krystian Wetulani, has already opened two marijuana stores in the City of Vancouver and is waiting on approval of a third location. The Herb Co. has also applied for licences in other B.C. communities.
All six stores will go through a rezoning process, including a public hearing, likely within the next two months. The shops must also be issued a provincial licence.
Only one government shop and 17 private stores have opened in B.C. since marijuana was legalized Oct. 17.
The Liquor Distribution Branch plans to open nine more stores soon, according to its website. A total of 76 applications for private stores in the Lower Mainland and Sunshine Coast area have been referred to local governments to consider.