Does it feel like a lot of marijuana shops have popped up around Vancouver over the last couple of years?
If everyone who applied for a licence to run a marijuana dispensary sees their application approved, the number of cannabis storefronts operating in the city could soon double.
Phase one of Vision Vancouver’s three-stage plan to regulate marijuana storefronts ended on August 21 and today (August 28) it was revealed how many people applied for a licence.
The number is 176, which compares to an estimated 90 to 100 dispensaries that were doing business in Vancouver when city hall began receiving applications.
It’s worth noting, however, that the bar for submitting a phase-one application was a very low one.
It involved a $100 application fee and the completion of a short form that asked for basic details related to a store. The city described this step as “preliminary” and primarily required to determine which dispensaries fail to meet location requirements that prohibit shops from standing within 300 metres of schools, community centres, and other dispensaries.
The Straight previously reported on requirements and processes related to all three stages of the application process. Steps two and three are significantly more arduous than the initial phase that ended last week.
The completion of phase one is the latest step in the city’s implementation of a regulatory scheme adopted by Vancouver council on June 24, 2015.
On that date, councillors voted to create a new licence category for marijuana-related businesses and to adopt a number of bylaws that dictate how cannabis storefronts should operate. Among the new rules, dispensaries must not stand within 300 metres of a school or community centre, minors are not allowed inside the stores, and shops must comply with all relevant building, zoning, licence, and development bylaws.
It’s estimated that when the regulatory scheme is finally fully implemented, the number of dispensaries operating in Vancouver will number around 100.