city hall

Dispensaries Receive Response from City on Business Licence Applications

Budzilla Dispensary Clinic owner Rejean Houle has shared a letter received from the City of Vancouver detailing the upcoming regulation process his application for a business licence will go through over the next several weeks.

The four page document states that Houle’s business is in conflict with zoning by-laws that require dispensaries to be over 300 m from one another.

Houle said that, despite the city’s letter, he doesn’t believe he’s in conflict with the zoning issue.

“We’ve checked on Google Maps and we’re not within 300 metres of another dispensary,” Houle told Cannabis in Canada.

Google Maps lists the closest dispensary, Green Cross Society, at 333 m to the northwest of Budzilla.

But the City says there are likely dispensary applications that an owner is unaware of.

“Not all applications were or are open as of Aug. 21 or currently but had a lease and made an application.” said John Freeman, a project facilitator with the city, in an email.

Houle’s application will now enter into a “declustering” process, along with surrounding dispensaries.

“In each cluster, the application with the fewest demerits can continue in the permits and licensing process at that location,” the letter stated. “The other applications in the cluster will have a period of time to close of to reapply with a different location that meets all zoning and development by-law requirements.”

The letter instructs Houle to request an official inspection of his property from the city, at a cost of $326, plus tax, before Oct. 23; along with a police information check, at a cost of $70, plus tax, before Nov. 6.

“Once your special inspection is complete and you have submitted the required information, city staff will evaluate and score your application using four declustering criteria,” the letter stated, with the criteria included as a chart..

The declustering criteria are judged on a point system, with demerits awarded for if the business is a for-profit venture (+10), if the city has received complaints about the business in the last year (+2), if work had been done without a permit (+3) and if the applicant has a history of poor business practices (+4).

“In each cluster, the application with the fewest demerits can continue in the permits and licensing process at that location,” the letter read. “The other preliminary development permit applications in the cluster will be refused.”

If Houle’s application is refused in the declustering process he has the option of finding a new location, appealing the decision, or closing his business.

The city promised that it will be increasing inspections of existing dispensaries and that those that violate business practices such as smoking in the establishment, sale of edibles, minors on site or advertising to minors “will be subject to enforcement action and possible closure.”