The City of Vancouver’s dispensary licensing program, which began over a year ago, has slowly started issuing business licences to medical cannabis providers, with the latest announced this week by the city, bringing the total to four. 

Green Valley Medicinal (699 E 65th Ave), which originally applied for a license as Medicinal Express, has now moved on to the final phase of the city’s licensing program and will pay up to $10,000 a year for a business license.

“Green Valley Medicinal is proud to present one of Canada’s first legal medical marijuana businesses in the City of Vancouver,” a post to the business’s Facebook page stated.

Earlier this month, Aura Health Studio (1316 Kingsway) also announced they had successfully navigated the city’s licensing process to become the city’s second licensed compassion club. The compassion club designation carries with it a smaller annual fee ($1,000) and other stipulations to separate them from for-profit operations.

“We are proudly licensed by the city of Vancouver, which means you can expect a welcoming safe space to shop, premium quality products, and education from our wonderful consultants and health practitioners,” staff wrote. “This is just the first step into a new, big industry, and we’re happy to be here. There are still a lot of applications to go, a lot in the queue. A lot will be denied, unfortunately, and a lot will still be approved.”

Compassion club Urban Earth Med Society (1605 Renfrew St) and for-profit dispensary Wealth Shop Society (104-4545 West 10th Ave) were awarded licenses earlier in the summer.

The city lists an additional 11 dispensaries that have obtained development permits, the last step before a business license is issued.

LotusLand Fairview Cannabis Society (1110 W Broadway), The Healing Centre (6416 Main St), Scooter Health Society (3441 Kingsway), Ganta Group (1193 Main St), The Budda Barn (2179 West 4), Greater Vancouver BC Pain Society (2894 East Broadway), Westcoast Medicine Society (3178 Cambie St), Evo Medi Society (1501 Commercial Dr), the Stressed and Depressed Association (1357 East 41 Ave), Eggs Canada (208 E 16 Ave) and WestCanna (700 W Broadway) have all received development permits from city officials and are working towards a license.

Over a dozen other dispensaries are listed on the city’s website as having obtained a conditional permit.

City of Vancouver corporate communications spokesperson Jag Sandhu said three more full development permit applications are currently out for public comment and that the city continues to enforce those businesses that are not in compliance with regulations, though there is no timeline for the city’s next batch of injunctions.

Updated number from the city show that more than 30 dispensaries have closed since the city’s Apr. 29 deadline and that another 55 are still in operation despite being required to close.

Permits and Licensing Numbers
Development permits issued for Medical Marijuana-related Uses (MMRUs)
15
Development permits under review for Medical Marijuana-related Uses (MMRUs)
18
Compassion Club business licences issued
2
Retail Dealer – Medical Marijuana Advocacy business licences issued
2
Business Licence applications under review
8
Bylaw Enforcement
Medical marijuana stores that have complied with regulations and have closed or are no longer selling marijuana since April 29, 2016
33
Stores currently operating that are subject to enforcement
55
Stores currently operating that are not subject to enforcement
33
Tickets Issued ($250 each)
584
Tickets Paid
128
Injunctions Filed
27

Meanwhile, unsuccessful applicants continue to appeal their rejections at the Board of Variance, with 15 appellants successfully overturning a previous city decision.

The latest meeting, last week, ended in adjournment for all five applicants, all operated by Don Brier who was unavailable to attend, board members said they were unwilling to proceed without hearing from a representative and postponed the hearings to a later date.

The next Board of Variance meeting is scheduled for Sept. 7.