Sixty-nine of the applications are inquiring about being licensed as a compassion club, while the rest are looking at the dispensary model. Compassion clubs pay exceptionally less in regulatory fees and licenses (a mere $1,000-a-year instead of the $30,000 licenses for dispensaries) but a compassion club must be a non-profit. The city’s regulations also demand that compassion clubs offer health services and become a member of the Canadian Association of Medical Cannabis Dispensaries (CAMCD).
The deadline for applications was on August 21. Any dispensaries or compassion clubs that didn’t apply for the license will be the subject of law enforcement, according to city officials.
City staff is focusing on zoning regulations, ensuring that the shops are at least 300 meters away from schools, community centers, and places that serve “vulnerable youth.” City staff also doesn’t want to see dispensaries and compassion clubs near each other.
In June, Vancouver became the first city in Canada to regulate medical cannabis dispensaries, which are technically illegal under federal law. Prior to calling the election, the ruling Conservative government was clear that they do not support Vancouver‘s regulation and insisted that they shut down every last dispensary and compassion club.