New Poll Shows Majority of Vancouverites Oppose Licensing Restrictions for Dispensaries

A new poll conducted by Nanos Research on behalf of Sensible B.C. suggests that the majority of citizens in Vancouver are in support of the city’s medical cannabis dispensaries.

The survey, which contacted 400 random residents via phone, found that there was strong opposition to the city’s current cannabis business licensing regulations, which are now entering their first year since being introduced.

Looking at specific policy points of the city’s licensing program; 60 per cent were against dispensary distance requirements from schools, 300 metres, being twice that of liquor stores; 71 per cent opposed the city’s decision to ban use of cannabis on dispensary premises; 85 per cent didn’t support the city’s ban on edibles; and 65 per cent saw the fee charged to dispensaries for a business license, $30,000, as excessive.

Dana Larsen, Sensible B.C. director, said the results showed less than 25 per cent support for any aspect of the city’s dispensary bylaws.

“It’s time for Vision Vancouver to open [the bylaws] up again and take another look,” Larsen wrote, online. “In Victoria, edibles are allowed and dispensaries aren’t treated worse than liquor stores. Vancouver should follow the Victoria model for their bylaws.”

Vancouver councillor Kerry Jang, who has been leading the city’s efforts to license Vancouver’s dispensary industry, said citizens support the current plan. 

“The only one complaining about it is Dana Larsen,” Jang said. “They’re the ones who are making it a political issue … but really it comes down to the fact they got used to making money, unregulated, and now we have regulation in place. It’s all about money now. They’re trying to dress it up as cannabis culture, but really it’s cannabis commerce. They’re hiding behind that cloak of activism in order to make money.”

Larsen said money has nothing to do with his opposition to the city’s system and the poll provides evidence that officials aren’t listening to the majority of residents’ views.

Jang said last week that the city is preparing to file another 10 injunctions against dispensaries that have refused to comply with orders to close.

So far, city officials have issued 351 $250 tickets to the 52 unlicensed dispensaries that have remained open past the closure deadline of April 29.