Spiritleaf will open in a few months. (Phil Melnychuk/THE NEWS)

Council approves first private pot store in Maple Ridge

To open soon at Valley Fair Mall

Maple Ridge council has approved the first application in the city to open a privately owned recreational marijuana store, in Valley Fair Mall.

Council gave the OK at its May 14 meeting following a presentation about the outlet a week earlier.

Spiritleaf is based in Calgary, but the Maple Ridge store would be owned locally by Jeff Sweetnam.

Spiritleaf already has stores open in Brooks, St. Albert, Calgary and Lethbridge, Alta., as well as in Moose Jaw, Sask. and Kingston, Ont.

City planning director Christine Carter noted that applications to open recreational cannabis stores must all go to the Liquor and Cannabis Regulation Branch of B.C.

If those applications meet government standards, they’re then forwarded to each city council for final approval.

“This application followed every step of the policy,” said Robin MacNair, senior bylaw adviser.

MacNair added that, currently, there are 12 applications outstanding to open cannabis stores in Maple Ridge, two of which are for government operations.

However, of 10 private applications, only two have been approved by the Liquor and Cannabis Regulation Branch.

As for Spiritleaf’s application, the city mailed out 633 letters to residents within 200 metres of the proposed location and received three responses – two opposed and one in favour.

Maple Ridge regulations also give preference to stores operated by the B.C. Liquor Distribution Branch.

The Liquor Distribution Branch has applied for a business licence for only one store in Maple Ridge, on 207th Street and Lougheed Highway. The branch is also considering a downtown location.

Council heard that Spiritleaf could be open within a few months.

Valley Fair management previously stated its support for the Spiritleaf application.



pmelnychuk@mapleridgenews.com

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