On Monday, the City of Vancouver awarded a business licence to a dispensary operated by Karuna Health Foundation, making it the 11th licensed cannabis shop in the city.
Karuna’s East Vancouver shop at 4510 Victoria Drive was granted a licence after going through the various stages of the city’s application process, and is now included in the city’s framework.
This comes after years of renovations to their Point Grey shop (3636 West 4th Ave), which were mandated by the city prior to the introduction of the bylaws. (In the end, the Point Grey shop’s license was denied.)
The Straight spoke with Karuna’s co-owner and operator, Bonnie Johnstone, about the lengthy process earlier today, and she said she’s ‘cautiously optimistic’ about the new label.
‘I’m very happy that we got it. I’ve put my blood, sweat, and tears into this, and so has my family,’ she said. ‘Everyone’s just working out the kinks.’
With a focus on providing cannabis to chronically and terminally ill patients since they opened their first shop a few years ago, Johnstone said she’s excited to continue offering relief to members in a way that fits into city bylaws.
‘Everyone knows how we really do take it seriously—people are coming in for the medicine—so I’m very happy about it, because it’s been a long haul.’
When asked about plans for the Point Grey shop, Johnstone said she’d already told her employees to ‘buckle up for round two’. One of her biggest concerns is that the regulations might change again, setting Karuna back at square one.
‘We’re hoping to continue with that shop, but I’m worried that that store is in jeopardy because of the discrepancies and red tape,’ she said.
‘But, since I have a license for this one, I’m on both sides of the coin now. If they tell us to close [the Point Grey shop], I’ll respect that.’