The city has officially sent out its first round of letters ordering the closure of specific marijuana dispensaries.
But even though there are more than 90 storefronts illegally selling cannabis in Vancouver, only two were mailed letters stating they must shut their doors “immediately” or “be subject to enforcement action”.
Those locations are Quick Stop Dispensary at 2893 East Broadway and Health Lifestyle Marijuana Supply Centre at 201–1011 Commercial Drive, according to Vancouver’s chief licensing inspector, Andreea Toma.
The city has given every other dispensary a grace period of six months while it works with those operators to see their stores meet the requirements of a legal framework for marijuana-related businesses that councillors adopted last June. The storefronts ordered closed did not file applications for a new class of business licence by an August deadline.
Among Vancouver’s new rules for cannabis dispensaries are stipulations that shops can only operate within certain areas zoned for commercial use; that they cannot be located within 300 metres of a school, community centre, or facilities for vulnerable youth; and that two shops not stand within 300 metres of one another.
An October 26 city news release stated that just 11 of 176 applications the city received met all zoning requirements and are ready to proceed to the next phase of the licensing process.
An additional 30 met all zoning requirements with the exception of a rule that prevents two dispensaries from operating in close proximity. Those businesses now have six months to submit a new application for an alternative location.
“The applications in these ‘clusters’ will be evaluated and scored based on criteria established in the bylaw,” the release stated. “In each cluster, the operator with the best score can continue in the permits and licensing process at that location.”
The remaining 135 applicants failed to meet additional zoning requirements. They can also submit a new application for a different location, and those with storefronts will be permitted to continue selling marijuana from their current address for the next six months.
The city would not reveal the names or locations of the 11 businesses approved for phase two of the process. That information is scheduled for release in “early November” when an “opportunity for public input” will begin.