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City of Vancouver receives 176 applications for medical marijuana-related businesses

August 28 2015

Vancouver City Hall

After setting out new zoning and business licence regulations in June to address concerns related to public safety, the City of Vancouver has received 176 applications for medical marijuana-related businesses.

Of these applications, 69 have the potential to be licenced as compassion clubs, while the rest have applied as retail businesses.

The new regulations created by the City aim to achieve a balance between ensuring there is adequate availability of medical marijuana for those in need with issues such as community health, safety and security.

The regulations are based on best-practice research and input from key partners.

What happens next for applicants

The deadline for Stage One applications closed on August 21, 2015. City staff will now assess the applications based on zoning regulations which require medical marijuana-related businesses to:

  • Locate in a permitted commercial zone
  • Be a minimum of 300 m from:
    • Schools
    • Community centres
    • Neighbourhood houses
    • Facilities serving vulnerable youth
    • Other medical marijuana-related businesses

Each applicant will receive a letter with zoning evaluation results and next steps within one to two months. Applicants that meet zoning requirements will move on to Stages Two and Three, which consist of inspections and the City’s standard development permit and business licence processes.

Businesses that do not meet the Stage One zoning requirements will need to close within six months and may reapply with a new location that meets all City zoning requirements.

Businesses that did not apply for a licence prior to the deadline of August 21, 2015 must close their doors, or be subject to enforcement action.  As with other businesses, the City will use a range of enforcement tools, including fines and legal action.

Medical marijuana-related business owners that did not apply by August 21, 2015 may register with the City to be notified when the next round of applications will be accepted.

Learn more about the application process    

Key points of the regulations

Medical marijuana-related businesses are only allowed to operate:

  1. In certain commercial zones
  2. At least 300 m from:
    • Schools *
    • Community centres *
    • Neighbourhood houses *
    • Youth facilities that serve vulnerable youth
    • Other marijuana-related businesses *
    • * Similar to the 1,000-foot distance required in Washington and Colorado states

  3. With a business licence (the licence fee is $1,000 for compassion clubs or $30,000 for medical marijuana-related retail dealers)
  4. With a development permit that includes a standard community notification process
  5. With a signed good neighbour agreement