Although cannabis is now legal in Canada, municipal bylaws are making it hard for cannabis businesses to reach customers.

Depending on where you live, there might be no cannabis shops around your local area. You might think that it’s because your neighborhood just isn’t a popular place for new cannabis businesses. But there is actually a more likely reason for this. Many municipalities in Canada have bylaws that prevent cannabis businesses from opening up.

For example, I live in Vancouver where it is really easy to find cannabis shops. Just down a block from my house, I can stop by a brick-and-mortar shop to buy some marijuana. But if I drove down to Surrey or Richmond, two nearby municipalities, there’s absolutely no shops at all. The city councils for both cities have passed laws that forbid retail marijuana shops from opening up.

So, if you live in one of these places that have banned cannabis businesses, you either have to make a trip to a city without these bylaws or make an online delivery. And though delivery systems have improved a lot, there’s still a lot of logistical issues that the industry is still figuring out.

Trying to Reach Customers with Bylaws in Place

As much as these bylaws are an inconvenience for us buyers, it’s an even bigger impediment for businesses. Without access to core urban and suburban areas, businesses miss out on a lot of potential customers. Though deliveries do exist, accessibility contributes to a businesses’ success more than anything. A lot of buyers opt to not buy if access proves inconvenient – or, they choose to buy from illicit sellers who are more conveniently located.

It is then in the best interest of municipalities to allow cannabis businesses to open up. Continued bans on shops will only fuel the illicit market. It’d be better to actually allow new businesses so that locals buy from reliable and trusted sources. Thankfully, it looks like more Canadian cities are aiming to end these restrictive bylaws. Back in June, West Vancouver passed new bylaws that allow cannabis shops to open in designated locations.

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