It could be a while before any retail cannabis shops are open again in North Cowichan.

Ironically, the shops closed here on the day cannabis became legal.

That’s after the province suggested those hoping to get a license better not be operating illegally in the first place.

Chris Hutton a community planning coordinator with North Cowichan said they do have three applications for a retail shop in the queue but he’s not sure what the timeline for approval might be.

He said the incoming council could put some policy in place on zoning and start reviewing applications right away.

Hutton said, if however, council feels there needs to be more public consultation or they want to take a different approach to authorizing cannabis retail shops in the community, it will take longer.

When it comes to regulating cannabis, the province issues the licenses to the retailers but municipalities can regulate what happens where, through tools like zoning bylaws.