Almost 100 Vancouver pot shops must close, says City

Jun 1 2016, 2:04 pm

The City of Vancouver has told Vancity Buzz it is forcing almost 100 pot shops to close when it begins enforcing its new rules for medical marijuana dispensaries this weekend.

Under 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.

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.

But as the April 29 deadline approaches, more than half the pot shops in Vancouver have failed to meet the new regulations and may be fined or face legal action if they stay open.

What’s more, only seven pot shops have got to the stage of applying for a business permit – and none have paid the $30,000 fee yet.

The city’s latest statement comes after Vancity Buzz published an in-depth breakdown of thenumber of dispensaries being forced to close – and revealed the city has not set aside any funding source for legal action they may need to take against pot shops.

One day on, the city has now updated those figures as follows:

New pot shop figures

As of April 25, according to the city, here’s the situation as it stands:

Stage 1 – preliminary application

  • 176 pot shops made preliminary application
  • The city told Vancity Buzz about 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.
  • 140 were rejected and asked to close within six months. Here’s a full list.
  • 62 appealed (11 were rejected, 4 were approved, 2 were deferred, 1 withdrew, the rest have hearings scheduled)
  • Any businesses open after April 29 without an approved preliminary application must close. The city estimates this is “almost 100.”

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 would not confirm how many pot shops had made it to this stage, but logically it would appear to be 40. It provided information on only 39 shops.
  • 7 were granted development permit
  • 13 have applications under review
  • 19 are under review in 7 clusters

Stage 3 – business license

  • 7 pot shops made it to his stage
  • 3 have applications under review
  • The city would not clarify the status of the remaining four dispensaries.
Jenni SheppardJenni Sheppard

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