Article by David Brown, Lift News
Vancouver has recently listed its twelfth dispensary licence, issued to WestCoast Medicann Scoiety at 3178 Cambie St. Another 27 have development permits with the city, the final stage before a business licence.
The last medical marijuana relates use (mmru) business licence issued by the city was in August, to Karuna Health Foundation at 4510 Victoria Dr.
Vancouver has been slowly working their way through their licensing program since they began the process in 2015 and had given unlicensed dispensaries until the end of April of 2016 to close. 176 originally applied for a licence. The vast majority failed based on the city’s 300 m zoning regulations, and the city currently lists 60 locations operating without permission that are subject to enforcement.
Councillor Kerry Jang, the city’s lead voice on its Medical Marijuana Related Use licensing program (MMRU), has said the program could take several years. He has also said he expects only about 15-20 dispensaries to ultimately get a business licence.
It is still unknown if even licensed dispensaries will ever become part of a legal federal and provincial framework for medical or recreational sales of cannabis if and when legalization comes into effect in Canada.
BC Premier John Horgan recently made some vague comments about dispensaries in an interview that touched on the province’s plans for legalization, saying he felt the dispensary proliferation in Vancouver and Victoria was a “problem,” but that “market forces” could sort the issue out. Under the proposed Cannabis Act, provinces have control over managing distribution and, with municipalities, retail sales.
While Horgan says he hopes to cater to entrepreneurs, and that whatever system BC chooses will be in line with the federal government’s goals of tightly controlling and restricting access.
“We want to make sure that a distribution system is in place that benefits those who want to participate as entrepreneurs, but we need to regulate it and we’re going to do that in a variety of ways, starting with talking to people about how they want to proceed. And that means again, working with local councils.”