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article imageVancouver pot shops face uncertain future on October 17

By Karen Graham     Oct 4, 2018 in World
Vancouver - For several years now, cannabis users in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, have been able to buy just about any kind of pot, along with accessories and all the cannabis-infused products they wanted. But that is all going to change on October 17.
You could say that British Columbia is Canada's "wild west," and the city of Vancouver is the one place known for its "grey economy" fed by illegal pot shops.
This curious label came about after the city became a haven for illegal pot shops. Rather than deny people access to medical marijuana, the city decided to overlook the stores, unless there were complaints or some other safety issue. However, by 2015, there were more than 100 illegal marijuana stores in the city.
This prompted the city council to pass a bylaw requiring shops to obtain a development permit, a $30,000 business license and obey location rules. Non-profits that supplied medical marijuana only had to pay $1.,000 for a license. But keep in mind - the shops were still illegal according to Canadian law.
CTV News Canada says this licensing scheme did allow the city to keep track of the shops, and they could issue tickets to those businesses that flouted the rules, but they really weren't that successful.
City of North Vancouver as seen from Upper Lonsdale. North Vancouver is often considered to be a sub...
City of North Vancouver as seen from Upper Lonsdale. North Vancouver is often considered to be a suburb of Vancouver.
Flying Penguin of Pacific Spirit Photography ( of Burnaby, BC, Canada
North Vancouver's new policy
Here's a good example of what has been going on in the province - On September 24, during in Monday morning meeting the City of North Vancouver council endorsed a new policy allowing a maximum of six pot shops in the municipality. The new law will become active on October 17, when the legal marijuana law goes into effect.
This means there will be two legal recreational pot shops in Central Lonsdale, two more in Lower Lonsdale, and one apiece in the city’s west and east sectors. Here's the real kicker, though - The new policy would bar any applicant currently operating an illegal pot shop.
Under the new policy, "operators of illegal pot shops would be permitted to run a legal shop if they close their store prior to Nov. 19, at which time the city will begin accepting applications," according to North Shore News.
Aerial view of Downtown Vancouver.
Aerial view of Downtown Vancouver.
What's Vancouver going to do?
Today, there are 19 pot shops in Vancouver with a municipal license, along with four non-profits, or what is called "compassion shops." There are also 53 locations that hold development permits. This number does not include the dozens of other locations that have ignored the law'
The situation prompted the city to launch a court case to get rid of some 53 of the illegal pot shops in September. As of today, a decision has not yet been issued. But regardless of what comes about from the court case, on October 17, Vancouver could end up being Canada's most unfriendly pot city.
Back in July, Vancouver went about updating its laws to align with the upcoming legalization. Any dispensaries that had been issued business or compassion club licenses had to apply for a provincial retail license and a new municipal business license.
"To date, the city has received four applications from the province," said chief license inspector Kathryn Holm. "To date, no operator in Vancouver has been issued a provincial or municipal cannabis business license to operate legally as of Oct. 17." And on October 17, British Columbia will have one government-run cannabis store ready - and it will be in Kamloops.
The funny thing is that all the pot shops in Vancouver claim to be medical marijuana dispensaries, yet only a very few require proof of a health condition. Most shops will sell marijuana to any adult who walks in off the street. We will have to see what transpires over the next few weeks.
More about pot shops, British columbia, october 17, grey economy, business licenses
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