Article by Bill Cleverley, Times Colonist
Even as the first application makes its way through the system, an increasing number of concerns are being raised about the fairness of the Victoria’s 200-metre minimum distance between cannabis dispensaries.
The 200-metre policy is seen as a way to ultimately prevent “pot blocks” or clusters of marijuana retailers in certain areas. The city’s 200-metre policy also specifies no cannabis retailers within 200 metres of a school.
But some councillors worry the policy is creating an uneven playing field as the first rezoning applicants who make it through the system are not only rewarded with a licence but also essentially eliminate competition within 200 metres at the same time.
“As each one of these comes forward, I’m having increasing degrees of concern about our first-past-the-post system in this case,” said Coun. Marianne Alto during a committee discussion of an application in the 900 block of Yates.
Coun. Geoff Young said he’s unable to defend the 200-metre policy and worries it could land the city in court.
“To some degree it was predictable that the 200-metre exclusion zone — so to speak — policy was going to create some issues,” Young said.