The Williams Lake City Council voted in favor of possibly reducing the fee for retail cannabis business licenses after reviewing a request from a local business owner, as reported by the Williams Lake Tribune.
The city council members approved the request last month and tasked staff with preparing revisions to lower the $2,500 business license fee.
“The decision was made when the licensing came up, and we put this in place because we had no idea what it was going to entail,” Williams Lake Mayor Walt Cobb said in response to why the city chose the fee amount when liquor outlets pay $324.
There are currently four cannabis retail businesses in the city paying the $2,500 fee.
Roy Buxbaum, a Williams Lake, Ontario businessman, owns Daily Stash Cannabis and wrote a letter to the city to review lowering the business license fee for cannabis retail businesses. Buxbaum and his wife Evelyn said it is unfair that they have to pay $2,500 a year, but retail liquor establishments pay as little as $324.
“We have paid that rate since the start when we opened in February 2019, and it doesn’t seem fair to me. We were told it had to be that high for policing costs, but we have had no incidents since we opened, other than a break and enter where the police had to attend,” Buxbaum said in an interview with the Williams Lake Tribune.
The city’s website shows that, depending on classification, business licenses range from $50 to $1,000.
“Both cannabis and liquor need to be purchased through the same government wholesaler, and for the most part, the rules and regulations are similar in nature,” Buxbaum said.
Buxbaum wrote in the letter that the same government entity, the Liquor and Cannabis Regulation Board distributes and regulates liquor and cannabis.
Ontario had a slow initial rollout of its legalized cannabis business. But with current growth, Ontario has reached a milestone 1,000th licensed cannabis store. Currently, Ontario’s cannabis business landscape is booming. June cannabis retail sales made up 37.7% of all Canadian regulated marijuana sales that month.
This recent rapid growth has brought heavy competition and complaints of retail cannabis oversaturation.
Some smaller Canadian cities have one cannabis store for every 5,200 people – three times the Provincial average. People who use Uber Eats will soon be able to order cannabis for pick-up in Ontario, Canada.
Some residents have difficulty obtaining their favorite cannabis strains stored in tamper-evident packaging.
Ontario still struggles to get its regulated cannabis market on a steady footing. The illegal, unlicensed, unregulated market continues to succeed without any connection to the poorly built, poorly managed legal cannabis market. Licensing fees, oversupply, razor-thin profit margins, and supply chain hoarding in the legal market continue to threaten Ontario’s cannabis industry.