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$93,250 in Vancouver pot shop tickets unpaid, despite crackdown

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Jenni Sheppard Aug 03, 2016 6:49 am

As the City of Vancouver continues to enforce its new bylaws for medical marijuana dispensaries, its latest figures reveal less than a quarter of tickets have actually been paid.

Under the new City rules, all dispensaries must be in commercial zones, at least 300 metres from schools, community centres, neighbourhood houses and other approved pot shops.

But when those new rules came into force on April 29, more than half the pot shops in Vancouver had failed to meet regulations and faced daily tickets of $250.

However, three months on, the City’s latest figures show 477 tickets have been issued, but only 104 have been paid – just 21%, or $93,250.

In total, the City says, 57 pot shops remain open despite being ordered to close; 27 of them are now facing injunctions from the City.

Still only 2 business licences issued

The City introduced the new rules in a bid to regulate the rapid spread of pot shops across Vancouver, although they technically remain illegal under federal law.

Under the rules, all dispensaries must go through three stages, first making a preliminary application to be deemed in a commercial zone, meeting the requirements laid out above.

Once they passed that stage, they then had to apply for a development permit, followed by a business licence at a cost of $30,000 for retail stores or $1000 for compassion clubs.

So far, out of 176 pot shops that began the application process, only two have been granted business licences – The Wealth Shop and the Urban Earth Medical Society.

See also
Lee Jackson, managing director, of Urban Earth, the second store to be granted a medical marijuana business licence in Vancouver (Urban Earth)

Lee Jackson, managing director of Urban Earth, the second store to be granted a medical marijuana business licence in Vancouver (Urban Earth)

Full pot shops figures update

Here’s a full update of where Vancouver’s pot shops stand, valid as of July 26 but provided to Daily Hive upon request on August 3, according to the City:

Stage 1 – preliminary application

  • 176 pot shops made preliminary application
  • The city previously told us a third of these applications were in fact from shops which had not yet opened. It is not clear whether these have since opened or not.
  • 113 have been rejected and asked to close within six months, according to the City’s latest list of rejected pot shops, valid as of June 28.
  • 44 are still in the appeal process, according to that list
  • 11 pot shops caught in 4 cluster situations (within 300m of each other) were subject to random draws – of these 5 pot shops were selected
  • 88 businesses open after April 29 without an approved preliminary application have been ordered to close.
    • 31 have closed
    • 57 are still operating
    • 27 facing legal action
  • 477 daily bylaw violation tickets of $250 have been issued
    • 104 tickets paid

One thing worth noting for clarity here – some rejected shops may have relocated and been approved in a separate application. This is estimated to make up only a small proportion of applications, but figures on this were not available.

Stage 2 – development permit

  • In its latest update, the city did not confirm how many pot shops made it to this stage. It provided information on only 29 stores.
  • 13 have been granted development permit
  • 16 have applications under review

Stage 3 – business license

  • 13 pot shops made it to this stage, the City has confirmed
  • 6 pot shops have applications for a business licence under review
  • 2 pot shops have been issued with a business licence

A map showing the locations of all those stores eligible to apply for or issued with a business licence, can be found below or on the City of Vancouver website: vancouver.ca


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Jenni Sheppard
Jenni is a former Senior Staff Writer at Daily Hive. Happy Vancouverite. Traveller, snowboarder, foodie, film fan, feminist, geek, cheesemaker, curler.

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