city hall

Vancouver to Hear First Round of Appeals for Rejected Dispensary Licenses Tomorrow

Vancouver medical marijuana dispensaries that were unsuccessful in their bid to receive a business license from the city will begin to go before the Board of Variance to appeal their rejection, tomorrow.

The first of 16 planned bi-monthly meetings, tomorrow’s appeal will see dispensaries who were rejected under the city’s application process for not complying with zoning and development bylaws have the chance to plead their case.

The city received 176 applications for dispensary licenses and, so far, just 14 have moved on to the next stage in the licensing process.

Appealing dispensary B.C. Pain Society operator Chuck Varabioff said he expects tomorrow’s meeting to be packed with attendees.

“I personally think it’s going to be a circus down there tomorrow, not only media but every other dispensary who’s appeal wanting to be down there and see how the proceedings work,” said Varabioff.

Varabioff said he’s also expecting a nearby private school to speak against his Commercial Drive location.

“I do feel for them that there are students in there, but they had every opportunity to speak out in April and help write and form the bylaws then,” said Varabioff. “I understand that people may be a little concerned and they don’t want us to be there in the first place, but this isn’t about them — this is about land-use and zoning, and that is what the board is voting on tomorrow.”

The dispensary operator said his presentation tomorrow will focus on the hardship that will befall his “over 15,000” customers if he’s forced to close or move.

Confident about his chances for appeal tomorrow, Varabioff said even if he isn’t successful he has no plans to launch legal action against the city.

“I’m grateful to the city for working with us, fortunately for me, one of my locations is in a green zone where’re it’s able to go ahead to step two, but even if I didn’t have one, I wouldn’t sue the city,” said Varabioff. “The last thing I’m going to do is sue the city or badmouth them because they are taking the steps above everywhere else in the country by doing the licensing in the first place.”

Varabioff said even with the federal government moving to make cannabis sales eventually legal, it will still be up to municipalities to decide who is able to sell, and where.

“They’re not singling me out, it’s fair for anyone across the board,” said Varabioff. “I’m grateful for the opportunity to even go to the appeal board tomorrow.”

Being heard tomorrow are four dispensaries operating across the city:

Cannpassion —  2943 Kingsway

Vancity Medicinal Society — 1299 Kingsway

BC Pain Society — 2908 Commercial Dr

Weeds Glass and Gifts Ltd. — 3450 E Hastings St