Pubdate: Tue, 26 Jan 2016
Source: Province, The (CN BC)
Copyright: 2016 Postmedia Network Inc.
Author: Dan Fumano
Page: 8


Out of the 176 applicants seeking to operate marijuana dispensaries 
under Vancouver's new licensing regime, the city has weeded out 14 
businesses to move one step closer for a licence.

Those 14 have been deemed in compliance with zoning rules and have 
applied for development permits, said Andreea Toma, Vancouver's 
director of licensing and inspections, adding, "We're thinking we may 
see the first development permit issued in the next couple of weeks."

The next step for any applicant who receives a permit is to apply for 
a business licence, Toma said, adding she believes the city's first 
dispensary licences could be issued by the spring.

Of the 176 applications submitted to the city last year (a total that 
includes shops already operating and prospective businesses), about 
130 were rejected for being within 300 metres of schools or community 
centres, Toma said. Around 60 or 70 of those have since applied to 
the board of variance seeking an exemption, she said, and those 
appeals will be heard starting in February.

Meanwhile, the issue of the buffer zone between schools and pot shops 
was on the agenda for Monday's Vancouver School Board meeting. VSB 
trustee Fraser Ballantyne said he wants to see the bylaw-mandated 
distance increased to 500 m.

Ballantyne also questioned the city's approach to licensing retail 
marijuana dispensaries, especially now that the federal government 
has a stated plan to legalize and regulate pot.

"Why are they rushing things through when the federal government is 
going to have a whole framework?" Ballantyne asked. "I think we need 
to hit the pause button."
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MAP posted-by: Jay Bergstrom