Blunt Assessment: Almost 60 Vancouver Cannabis Dispensaries are Unlicensed

Article byWanyee Li, Metro Vancouver

Blunt assessment: Almost 60 Vancouver cannabis dispensaries are unlicensed There are 57 non-compliant dispensaries and 10 that have completed the licencing process, according to the city

It’s been almost two years since Vancouver city councillors adopted new pot-shop regulations, but after dishing out more than 1,600 tickets, the city is still dealing with 57 marijuana retail businesses that are not abiding by the rules.

That doesn’t include the 38 dispensaries or compassion clubs that don’t have licences but are exempted from ticketing because they say they are going to put an application together, said Kathryn Holm, head of licensing at the City of Vancouver.

“[If] shops have not been fully compliant but they are working towards it, we have exempted them from enforcement.”

But the city’s patience for those businesses is waning and the licensing office may begin ticketing them too.

“We’re finding now that several of the shops in that stream are not actively working toward compliance,” Holm explained.

Ten marijuana retail businesses have completed the city’s licensing process but 13 new pot shops have opened since the city adopted its regulatory framework for dispensaries, she said.

One long-time dispensary owner says the process is too strict.

“There are only 10 dispensaries licenced in the city. That’s not a very big number considering how much time and effort has gone into this,” said Dana Larsen, director of the non-profit, The Vancouver Dispensary Society.

Neither of his dispensaries have a business licence.

Bylaw officers started slapping $250 fines on pot shops operating without a licence in June 2015. Back then, there were about 80 marijuana-retail businesses in the city, according to Holm.

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