Pubdate: Fri, 14 Jul 2017
Source: Oak Bay News (CN BC)
Copyright: 2017 Oak Bay News


A decision to increase the minimum distance between marijuana
dispensaries in Victoria, as part of the rezoning and business
licensing process for such shops, was no doubt applauded by many.

It seems this creating of a larger buffer zone - from 200 to 400
metres between shops - at an earlier point in the process could have
helped avoid the proliferation of such outlets, which sprung up in
virtually every neighbourhood in very short order.

The city has been putting together temporary measures to deal with
this matter since the federal Liberal government stated it would
eventually be legalizing the sale of cannabis in this country.

The horse was let out of the barn with the City's lax early stance and
this is an attempt to assume control over who is allowed to do
business, through regulatory measures. The fact very few of the more
than 30 shops currently operating even have a business licence, is a
slap in the face to merchants who faithfully make sure their licence
is up to date and follow zoning rules.

Coun. Margaret Lucas, one of the councillors who brought forward the
increased buffer zone motion after listening to concerns from
neighbourhood associations and others, added clarity to the situation.
Employed in the hospitality industry for some time, she experienced
firsthand the change of heart by government during the whole private
liquor store process.

Rules around the placement of such outlets, along with local municipal
zoning issues, look far different today than when the province first
began breaking B.C. Liquor Stores' stranglehold on the selling of
alcohol in the early 2000s. Most of those changes were a result of
public and business feedback, Lucas noted.

Coun. Ben Isitt's point that the number of shops should be based on
market demand for such products also makes sense. But this is not
cafes or meat markets, it's the sale of products in which the key
ingredient remains illegal, which understandably makes many people

While there remains no federal regulatory structure in place for
cannabis sales, public and business feedback have helped Victoria be
ahead of the curve when it comes to the future retailing in these products.
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MAP posted-by: Matt