The City of Victoria has officially passed its Storefront Cannabis Retailer Rezoning Policy, with city council giving final approval of the bylaw changes Thursday night.

All dispensaries in the city are responsible for obtaining a $5,000 business license from the city, as well as completing a $7,500 rezoning process.

“Under the new bylaws, all retail businesses where medical cannabis is sold or provided to a person who visits the premises is considered a ‘storefront cannabis retailer,'” read a city statement. “All storefront cannabis retailers are now required to be rezoned for this use and to obtain a business licence.”

The city has begun accepting applications from dispensaries as of this morning, but licenses won’t be issued until rezoning for the location is completed, a process that will take six to eight months.

The city is allowing all dispensaries that were open before Jul. 28, 2016 to stay open while they apply for rezoning and licensing, but newer shops will have to wait to open their doors until they complete their rezoning application.

All dispensaries must immediately comply with the city’s new operational requirements for the shops, which include no consumption on the premises, limitations on advertising, business hours that begin at 7 a.m. at the earliest and 8 p.m. at the latest and 200 metre buffers from schools and other dispensaries.

Mayor Lisa Helps said when selecting which dispensary will receive a license when several are within 200 metres of one another, the first to complete their rezoning process is likely to be successful.

“It is a matter of which dispensary owner is organized and through the door most quickly,” said Helps.