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City proposes framework to regulate marijuana-related businesses

April 22 2015

Vancouver City Hall

Next week City Council will hear a proposal put forward by City staff to create a new business licence category as well as clear zoning requirements that all retail marijuana-related businesses would need to adhere to.

The City has no jurisdiction to regulate the sale of marijuana but it does have clear jurisdiction to regulate how and where businesses operate in our city.

Why we're proposing this framework

In the last two years, the City has seen a rapid growth rate of 100 per cent per year in marijuana-related businesses, including from 60 to 80 in the last four months alone.

The proposed framework looks to achieve a careful balance between ensuring adequate availability for those in need and ensuring community health, safety, security, aesthetics, equity, and enjoyment of property.

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

The City is proposing a balanced approach based on best practice research and input from key partners such as the VPD, Vancouver School Board, Vancouver Coastal Health, business improvement areas, and several key stakeholders in the industry.  

Key points of our proposed framework

Key points under the proposed framework for marijuana-related businesses, include:

  • 300 m distancing from schools, community centers and neighbourhood houses (existing practice is 1000 ft as established in Washington and Colorado states)
  • 300 m distancing from other marijuana-related businesses (existing practice is 1000ft as established in WA and CO)
  • Implement a licensing fee ($30,000) to recover costs from the significant burden across the City to manage and enforce new regulatory framework
  • Operators must sign a Good Neighbour Agreement
  • Operators require a Development Permit which would include a standard community notification process
  • Geographic restrictions specific to unique areas in the city, limiting them to commercial areas

Applicants will be required to go through a three-stage review process, which includes a point-based evaluation criteria, in order to obtain a business licence.

Read the proposed framework (PDF, 800 KB)

Next steps

Vancouver City Council will hold a Public Hearing to consider bylaw amendments that would affect the regulation of retail marijuana-related businesses.

Find out more details about the Public Hearing on June 10, 2015.