From left, Mikel Abbot, Alfred Schaefer and Peter Greene at the opening of their first Rural Leaft cannabis shop in Smithers in October, 2019. (File photo)

From left, Mikel Abbot, Alfred Schaefer and Peter Greene at the opening of their first Rural Leaft cannabis shop in Smithers in October, 2019. (File photo)

Cannabis store application gets Houston council’s blessing

Rural Leaf from Smithers plans to open in Houston Mall

The District of Houston council has approved of an application from a Smithers company to open a cannabis retail store in the Houston Mall.

Rural Leaf Ltd., which has the one outlet in Smithers, submitted its application with accompanying documentation to the District last month.

While the provincial Liquor and Cannabis Regulation Branch oversees licensing and operations of non-medical cannabis retail outlets, local governments must approve of an application.

The branch has been conducting its own assessment of the application.

The approval by council was unanimous with mayor Shane Brienen and councillors Lisa Makuk, Tom Euverman, Troy Reitsma and Tim Anderson being in attendance at the Aug. 19 regular council meeting.

As part of council’s consideration of the application, it invited public comments resulting in six written responses being submitted to the District and considered at the meeting.

Three of the responses were in favour of the application and three opposed. Names of those who provided responses were blacked out.

One of the opposition responses focussed on the proposed mall location for the outlet, indicating “it certainly does not need to be in a high traffic area like the mall.”

“There must be other property, ‘off the beaten path’, that would be more than adequate for a product that most people have no interest in,” the person wrote.

A second opposition submission stated a cannabis outlet would only enable cannabis users. “People should try buying groceries for their kids so they don’t have to rely on the system to feed them,” the person wrote.

The third opposition submission was from someone who says they see the effects of drugs almost daily.

“I do believe that cannabis is a gateway drug that leads to heavier drugs down the road and we, as a community, should not be contributing to its use,” the writer stated.

One writer in support of the application didn’t see any drawbacks to a cannabis store while another writer said locating the store in the mall would be no different than the liquor store now there. And, the person added, there would be a few more jobs as a result.

A third writer in support of the application said cannabis is a herbal medicine which can help health issues if used properly.

“It’s time for this tiny town to put on its big boy pants and get with the program. It is 2020 … not 1950,” that person wrote.

“Please start making much-needed changes to this town before it becomes a true ghost town,” the writer concluded.

Alfred Schaefer from Rural Leaf thanked the District, saying council members did their due diligence.

“There was a lengthy discussion with a number of research papers being cited as to the benefits of having a legal cannabis store in your town and I applaud them for taking a facts based approach to their decision making,” he said.

Schaefer said the outlet will help revitalize the mall by increasing foot traffic.

Renovations of the outlet location will begin shortly, he added, with a goal of opening by Oct. 17, the second anniversary of the legalization of cannabis in Canada.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

An aerial shot of Cedar Valley Lodge this past August, LNG Canada’s newest accommodation for workers. This is where several employees are isolating after a COVID-19 outbreak was declared on Nov. 19. (Photo courtesy of LNG Canada)
52 positive COVID-19 cases now associated with LNG Canada site outbreak

Eight cases still active, 44 considered recovered

Haley Callison. (Facebook photo)
Former Smithereen frustrated with COVID-deniers following horrific bout with the disease

Haleigh Callison hopes people will follow precautions and tone down the rhetoric

Pellet plants deal with a lot of combustible materials. (File photo)
“Fire-related event” at Houston pellet plant injures three, shuts down operations

Rumours of an associated explosion cannot be confirmed at this time

The Smithers District Chamber of Commerce coveted Alpine Man Statue for winners of the 2020 Community and Business Awards Nov 25. (contributed photo)
Smithers Feed Store named Business of the Year

Chamber of Commerce Community and Business Awards handed out in virtual ceremony via Zoom

A tongue-in-cheek message about wearing a face mask to curb the spread of COVID-19 on a sign outside a church near Royal Columbia Hospital, in New Westminster, B.C., on Sunday, Nov. 29, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C.’s COVID-19 infection count climbs back up to 656

20 more people in hospital, active cases still rising

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
B.C. researchers launch study to test kids, young adults for COVID-19 antibodies

Kids and youth can often be asymptomatic carriers of the novel coronavirus

A sign is seen this past summer outside the Yunesit’in Government office west of Williams Lake reminding visitors and members to stay safe amid the COVID-19 pandemic. (Rebecca Dyok photo)
B.C. First Nation leaders await privacy commissioner decision on COVID-19 information

Release of life-saving data cannot wait, says coalition of First Nations

MLA Jennifer Whiteside is B.C.’s new minister of education. She is speaking out against Chilliwack school trustee Barry Neufeld and asking him to resign. (Black Press)
New education minister calls on Chilliwack trustee to resign

Whiteside echoes former minister’s promise to look at options to remove Barry Neufeld

Peter Beckett. ~ File photo
Supreme Court of Canada to decide if it will hear appeal in 2010 wife murder trial

Peter Beckett has stood trial twice for murder in connection with the death of his wife, Laura Letts-Beckett

Tabor Home in Abbotsford. (Ben Lypka/Abbotsford News)
B.C.’s largest COVID-19 care-home outbreak records 19 deaths, 147 cases

Tabor Home in Abbotsford has been battling outbreak since Nov. 4

Ash and Lisa Van carry a freshly cut Christmas tree while wearing personal protective masks at a Christmas Tree Farm in Egbert, Ontario, Sunday, Nov. 29, 2020 THE CANADIAN PRESS/ Cole Burston
‘Everyone wants a tree and they want it now’: Christmas tree sales on pace for record

Anticipated demand for Christmas trees has sparked a rush by some to purchase more trees wholesale

Most Read