The City of Nelson received fewer applications than expected for its retail cannabis business licenses which are capped at five. There were only four applicants total and City council granted approval to three this week. As only two stores are allowed in the downtown, Buddy’s Place, which operates currently as LeafCross dispensary, lost in the lottery for one of the downtown licenses.

Councillor Brittny Anderson hopes something can be done to change the situation.

“They had, you know, letters from multiple organizations and community groups and I didn’t think through a lottery system it was essentially fair to deny that application, you know we don’t see this in other sectors.”

Instead of council making a recommendation to the province that the license for Buddy’s Place not be approved, Councillor Anderson suggested they don’t comment, a motion the rest of council was in support of.

“I felt that it’s important that we leave that opportunity open so that they can use some of the other options available, looking at a temporary use permit, or a change in the bylaw, or they could look at moving to another location.”

There are still two retail cannabis licenses available for Railtown and Nelson Avenue.

Nelson City Planner Alex Thumm says the low number was surprising.

“The applications we’ve received have been from existing dispensaries that have been open from two to three years so far. There hasn’t been any applications from a brand new applicant. There weren’t any dispensaries from Railtown or Nelson Avenue, so no new applicants. That’s what we got, we got the downtown ones.”

Compared to other municipalities, Trail city council has approved five so far and Castlegar council has approved three with more expected.