Pubdate: Sat, 15 Apr 2017
Source: Victoria Times-Colonist (CN BC)
Copyright: 2017 Times Colonist
Author: Amy Smart
Page: A3


Trees Dispensary has become the first cannabis retailer to be rezoned
under the City of Victoria's new rules.

Council voted unanimously in favour of a rezoning application for
Trees' location at 546 Yates St. following a public hearing on
Thursday night.

Mayor Lisa Helps said the city did not co-ordinate with Prime Minister
Justin Trudeau to rezone its first pot retailer on the same day that
he announced legislation to legalize recreational marijuana.

"I can certainly say it does give me great comfort." Helps

"It makes it easy to support this."

Victoria has enacted licensing and zoning bylaws to regulate cannabis
dispensaries within the city.

Helps said Trees fits with the streetscape and is an appropriate use
of land, and that the company, which has four stores in Greater
Victoria and one in Nanaimo, has set the bar high for future applicants.

Coun. Charlayne Thornton-Joe said she had concerns about the rezoning
occurring before federal legislation comes into effect in July 2018.
And while Trees has performed well, council has received complaints
about odour and noise at other dispensaries in the city, she said.

Alex Robb, director and general manager of Trees, said the company
provides medical marijuana in many forms - including capsules and
balms - to about 100 customers a day.

The dispensary fits well into the retail-heavy area, he

"History, and probably the other municipalities in this province, will
view Victoria's actions to get ahead of this issue as very wise," Robb

The city essentially adopted a "first in the door" policy when it
forwarded Trees' application to public hearing, while deferring
consideration of an application from Pure Releaf for a dispensary less
than half a block away. The city's rezoning policy mandates that
storefront cannabis retailers must be at least 200 metres from each

Under Victoria's rules, cannabis-related businesses must not allow
individuals under 19 on the premises, allow consumption on the
premises, advertise beyond minimal signage, or be open after 8 p.m. or
before 7 a.m.

They must install air filtration systems to reduce odour for
neighbours, have a security plan, post health and safety warning signs
and ensure the premises are only used for the sale of medical cannabis
and accessory uses.
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