Vancouver City Council to regulate marijuana businesses

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The City of Vancouver is introducing a plan to regulate all marijuana-related businesses to achieve “a careful balance between ensuring adequate availability for those in need and ensuring community health, safety, security, aesthetics, equity and enjoyment of property.”

In a press release, the City cites the lack of a clear regulatory framework for how and where marijuana businesses operate and emphasizes how quickly the industry has grown in Vancouver, with a growth rate of 100 per cent per year in marijuana-related businesses, including from 60 to 80 in the last four months alone.

The proposal is in conjunction with VPD, Vancouver School Board, Vancouver Coastal Health, business improvement areas and “several key stakeholders in the industry”.

According to the City’s proposal, key points under the proposed framework for marijuana-related businesses, include:

  • 300m distancing from schools, community centres and neighbourhood houses
    • (Existing practice is 1000ft as established in WA and CO states)
  • 300m distancing from other marijuana-related businesses
    • (Existing practice is 1000ft as established in WA and CO states)
  • Implement a licensing fee ($30,000) to recover costs from the significant burden across the City to manage and enforce new regulatory framework
  • Operators must sign a Good Neighbour Agreement
  • Operators require a Development Permit which would include a standard community notification process
  • Geographic restrictions specific to unique areas in the city, limiting them to commercial areas
    • Must not be located in the Downtown East Side other than on Hastings Street or Main Street
    • Must not be located in the Granville Entertainment District
    • Must not be located on a minor street

Those who wish to apply for a marijuana-related business licence will have to undergo a three stage review process.

Though the City has no authority to regulate the sale of marijuana, or any controlled substance, they do have the jurisdiction under the Vancouver Charter to regulate land use and businesses. The report outlines that there are currently 80 marijuana-related businesses in Vancouver operating without a business licence.

Vancouver City Council will vote on the amendments during a meeting on April 28.

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Jill Slattery Jill Slattery was born and raised in Vancouver, where she also earned an Arts degree from UBC in English and Creative Writing. She is an avid TV-watcher and a shameless Taylor Swift fangirl. Jill is a Staff Writer at Vancity Buzz. Contact her at jill@vancitybuzz.com
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