Article by David Brown, Lift News
The city of Vancouver has issued their 11th dispensary business license under the city’s Medical Marijuana Related Use (MMRU) licensing regime. Another 40 businesses are at the second of the city’s three-stage licensing process, with another two at stage one.
The previous business license issued was in late May to Eggs Canna at 208 E 16th Ave. No one at Karuna Health Foundation was available for comment at press time. Karuna runs a second location at 3634 W 4th that the city has listed as operating without City permission and subject to enforcement. It was denied a variance in April, 2016.
Vancouver began their licensing process in 2015 and had given unlicensed dispensaries until the end of April of this year to close. 176 originally applied for a license. The vast majority failed based on the city’s 300 m zoning regulations. City Councillor Kerry Jang, the lead voice on the city’s Medical Marijuana Related Use licensing program, says the program could take several years. He has also said he expects only about 15-20 to ultimately get a business license.
The city has since admitted they have over one million dollars in unpaid fines to unlicensed dispensaries, and has issued 53 injunctions against unlicensed dispensaries to try and force their closure. The first injunction is expected in court some time next year.
MMRU applicants must pass three stages of review: first, a conditional permit is issued after the business passes zoning, then a development permit is issued prior to the third and final stage of receiving a business license. Dispensaries pay a $30,000 a year fee to the city, while compassion clubs pay a $1,000 fee. As of today, the city lists 28 businesses at the development permit stage and another 15 at conditional permit.