Vancouver city councillors have approved a set of bylaws to regulate the city’s 94 medical marijuana dispensaries.
Against the federal government, it becomes the first city in Canada to do so, in an 8-3 vote.
The bylaws will be two-tiered, costing for-profit businesses $30,000 for a licence, while compassion clubs will have to pay just $1,000.
“(A compassion club) has to have memberships,” says Vision Coun. Kerry Jang. “It has to hold annual general meetings. It has to provide background services of specific types for so many hours. Sixty per cent of its time has to go to that.”
The dispensaries will also have to stay 300 metres from schools, community centres and each other.
Jang estimates two thirds of existing storefronts will have to move.
Many people who spoke at four nights of public hearings had urged council to allow edibles to be sold in the dispensaries, following a ruling from the Supreme Court of Canada that struck down a ban against such products, like cookies or brownies.
Business owners now have 60 days to apply for a licence.
Pro-marijuana activist Jodie Emery, wife of “Prince of Pot” Marc Emery, says there will always be winners and losers with regulations.
“I think the city has gone a little too far with excessive regulations. Liquor stores and other businesses don’t seem to have the same sort of limitations. But we can always work to change those rules later on.”