Regulations for medical marijuana-related businesses

The sale of non-medical cannabis will be legal on October 17, 2018

Effective October 17, 2018, provincially licensed cannabis retail stores will be the only locations where non-medical cannabis can be sold or purchased legally in Vancouver. There will be 3 requirements to operate a Cannabis retail store in Vancouver:

  1. A provincial cannabis retail licence
  2. A municipal development permit
  3. A municipal business licence

Details on how to apply for these will be available later this summer.

Key points of the regulations

Medical marijuana-related businesses are only allowed to operate:

  1. In commercial zones
  2. At least 300 m from:
    • Schools*
    • Community centers*
    • 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

View the full Zoning and Development Bylaw requirements PDF file (650 KB)

Why we adopted these regulations

The number of marijuana-related businesses grew by 100 per cent per year from mid-2013 to mid-2015. In the first six months of 2015 there was an increase from 60 to 100 businesses.

Up to now there’s been a lack of a clear and transparent regulatory framework from the Federal Government.

On April 28, 2015, City Council received a report from staff about the proposed regulations and referred them to the June 10 public hearing.

After hearing from speakers, including the chief medical health officer, at the four-day hearing, Council adopted the regulations on June 24.

Our regulations aim to achieve a careful balance between ensuring:

  • Adequate availability of medical marijuana for those in need
  • Community health, safety, security, aesthetics, equity, and enjoyment of property

Our approach to these regulations is based on best-practice research and input from key partners such as the Vancouver Police Department, Vancouver School Board, Vancouver Coastal Health, Business Improvement Areas, and several key stakeholders in the marijuana-related industry.