Nelson council votes to reduce cannabis business licence fee

Nelson council has drastically reduced the licence fees for cannabis retailers in Nelson. Photo: Bill Metcalfe

Nelson City Council has voted to reduce the annual business licence fee for cannabis retailers from $2,500 to $250.

A city staff recommendation to council states that “staff are of the opinion that it is reasonable to amend the cannabis retail business licence fee to match the fee for retail wine and beer.”

There are currently three cannabis retailers in Nelson. The city consulted with neighbouring municipalities and concluded Nelson’s fees were considerably higher than most.

The staff recommendation states that when the fees were first instituted, the city speculated that “the city resources these businesses might require would be higher than for a typical business,” but this turned out not to be true.

The fee change was passed unanimously by council with no discussion.

Cora Muellner, manager at Buddy’s Place in Nelson, welcomed the council decision and said having a cannabis store on Baker Street is no longer controversial. The city’s risk and resources needed to monitor cannabis businesses she said are low, and perhaps less than for alcohol-related businesses.

“We are just an ordinary business,” she said. “I think we have integrated into the community really well.”

Muellner said she hopes the council decision to lower the business licence fee will encourage other municipalities to follow suit.

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