People are still waiting for recreational retail pot stores to open in Maple Ridge. (THE NEWS/files)

Maple Ridge OKs $5,000 business licence fee for pot stores

Two government shops in the works

Maple Ridge council has given final approval to creating a new category for cannabis services in its business licence bylaw.

But Coun. Kiersten Duncan said that the city is asking too much for a recreational pot store to open its doors within the city.

The annual business licence fee for a retail marijuana store is now $5,000, plus a $500 application processing fee.

“I think it’s just really, exponentially high in comparison,” to other business licence fees, she said at council’s April 9 meeting.

The usual annual business licence fee is $110.

Maple Ridge allows pot stores within commercial zones, providing there’s at least a kilometre between each store, and providing each application makes it through a rigorous provincial and city process.

The city has also said it prefers government-run stores, two of which are slated to open this year.

Maple Ridge’s Cannabis Retail Processing and Evaluation Criteria policy came into effect Nov. 27 and favours government-run shops setting up within the city because of the latter’s “strong track record handling a controlled substance.”

The B.C. Liquor Distribution Branch wants to open two new recreational marijuana stores in Maple Ridge.

The branch has applied to open one in Maple Ridge Square, across from city hall on Dewdney Trunk Road and 224th Street, and is awaiting city approval. Another location in west Maple Ridge remains to be confirmed.

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