50 licensed retailers in the Okanagan
Published on September 17, 2020 by David Wylie
Brick and mortar cannabis retail has come a long way in the Okanagan over two years, with licensed (and unlicensed) stores in all regions.
There are 50 legal stores now open or ‘coming soon’ to the Valley—from Osoyoos to Enderby.
Vernon has by far the most stores, with 15. In fact, it has the second most in all of BC—second only to the Greater Vancouver area, which has 32 in total.
There are about 300 legal stores throughout the province.
A tale of four communities
The province has been relatively slow to approve licences in Kelowna—the biggest city in the Okanagan. There are many still waiting on that step. Among the retailers is Cheeba Cheebas, which is run by the same people as the well-established Mary Jane’s Headquarters.
The large number of stores in Vernon has caused some speculation in local media as to just how many businesses can survive and/or thrive in one market—especially considering the large number of unlicensed shops along the ‘Green Mile.’ Spiritleaf Vernon was the first store to open in the Valley, and the retail chain is the only one to have stores open in the Okanagan’s four biggest cities.
Midway between Kelowna and Vernon is Lake Country where one of the first stores approved in the Valley rebranded this year from Starbuds to Lake Country Cannabis. A second store seems to be pressing for approval: Dutch Love (formerly Hobo) is in the process of building a store on Main Street in Lake Country. The company’s website says opening August, yet it doesn’t appear to have city or provincial approval. There is also an established unlicensed store along the highway—All Nations (née, Indigenous Bloom).
Self-declared as ‘Canada’s Wine Capital,’ Oliver has also taken to cannabis. The small community has four private stores, with a government store on the way. It’s going to be a beautiful region for tourists to taste some of the best reds and some of the best buds.
Breakdown of the numbers
There were a total of 291 licensed stores in BC as of Sept. 17.
North Okanagan – total 19
Central Okanagan – total 12
West Kelowna 5
Lake Country 1
South Okanagan – total 19
Okanagan Falls 1
More big BC cities
Greater Vancouver 32
Prince George 7
Kootenays (25 approx.)
Map by the oz.
Editor’s note: This is part of our coverage on the two-year anniversary of legalization.