The City of Vancouver has revealed the first list of marijuana dispensaries to emerge from its declustering process with a golden ticket to remain in business.
Five of 11 shops that entered the first round of lotteries are allowed to remain open and proceed to the next phase of the city’s application process for a marijuana-related business licence.
When councillors voted to adopt a regulatory framework for marijuana dispensaries, in June 2015, one of the rules they passed states cannabis storefronts cannot stand within 300 metres of one another.
The declustering process is the city’s attempt to thin out groups of two or more shops standing within those buffer zones.
The six shops that lost out in this round of the lottery now have to close within six months or move to a new location and file fresh paperwork to begin the licensing process again.
Meanwhile, on May 17, the city granted Vancouver’s first marijuana-business licence to Wealth Shop Society at 4545 West 10th Avenue.
Two other dispensaries have licences under review.
In addition, the city has given 10 dispensaries development permits that allow them to move through the regulatory process to apply for a licence.
Eleven other dispensaries have development permits under review.
Finally, there is one dispensary that’s been licensed to run as a nonprofit compassion club.
If every one of those dispensaries has their paperwork in order and all goes well for them through the licensing process, the total number of sanctioned marijuana storefronts—those licensed or moving through the process for a licence—will stand at 30.
According to the city’s latest count of illicit dispensaries, 61 stores continue to operate outside the city’s regularity process. Those shops are subject to daily fines of $250.
Since an April 29 deadline for illicit shops to close, the city has issued 139 of those tickets.
Marijuana dispensaries remain illegal under federal law.
Separate from the city’s effort to regulate dispensaries, the federal government has said it will table legislation to legalize recreational marijuana in the spring of 2017.