Article by Judith Stamps, Cannabis Digest
Victoria BC currently has 28 dispensaries. Of these, 8 are licensed, and 5 more are in process. Vancouver BC has 15 licensed dispensaries; and over 100 in total. We can divide these roughly into two categories: about to apply for a provincial license in the new legal system; and planning to remain as is, as a provider of medicine. Today’s blog explores these alternatives
1. Into the New (Almost) Established Legal World: Opening, October 17 2018
Trees Dispensary in Victoria BC is a good example of a BC dispensary, soon to enter the legal system. Established in 2014, Trees was the first in Victoria to acquire a City License. It has seven locations on Vancouver Island, with a large head office in Rock Bay, Victoria’s industrial district.
It has to be said that anyone who has acquired a City license for a dispensary in BC has already been through the wringer. Each has been required to apply for re-zoning. That process, which included the cost of a public hearing, came with a price tag of $7,500. For new architectural blueprints, also necessary to rezoning, there was an additional fee of $6,000. There is also an annual business license fee, outlandish when compared to licenses for other businesses: $5,000 annually in Victoria; and a staggering $30,000 annually in Vancouver.
Beyond a few licenses, this first round of semi-sanctioning yielded mixed results. Some could not afford a license, and were bought out by larger players: veteran activist David Malmo-Levine had to sell his Vancouver dispensary, Stressed and Depressed; Natural Way in Victoria BC, sold its business to Trees. Some are continuing to run without a license, and will likely carry on until they are shut down. More than a few have closed their doors, some voluntarily, some not.
“So what happens next for those who want to move on to provincial licensing? This much is known.”
1. Each dispensary will need to provide further blueprints, showing detailed floor plans. Read this as: Further Fees.
2. Each will need to detail its security measures, though what exactly is still unclear.
3. Each will need to go through a second round of inspections; fire, building, electrical, security, and whatever else the province demands—More Fees.