Maple Ridge passed the Cannabis Retail and Evaluation Criteria last fall. (THE NEWS/files)

Liquor branch awaits city licence for pot store in west Maple Ridge

Location secured at 207th Street and Lougheed

Negotiations over a proposal to put a new retail marijuana store in downtown Maple Ridge haven’t yet concluded, so the first one on the city will likely be located at the west end.

The B.C. Liquor Distribution Branch, which runs the government retail stores, said there’s more certainty that the first recreational pot store to open in Maple Ridge under the federal government’s pot legalization enacted last fall, will be in Hammond Mill Centre, at Lougheed Highway and 207th Street.

Kate Bilney, with distribution branch communications, said an agreement has been reached with the property owner and that the Liquor Distribution Branch has applied for a city business licence for the Lougheed Highway and 207th Street location.

However, there’s no date for any opening, she added.

The branch is also trying to open a downtown location in Maple Ridge Square at Dewdney Trunk Road and 224th Street, across from city hall, but leasing negotiations over that space haven’t concluded.

Maple Ridge’s Cannabis Retail and Evaluation Criteria, passed last fall, gives preference to government-run outlets. The policy also requires that Maple Ridge wait three months after receiving government applications before it considers private applications.

That period has now passed, meaning the city can now consider private applications for recreational, retail pot stores.

Council recently approved changes in its business licence bylaw that charges a $5,000 annual business licence and $500 application fee for pot stores.

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