Victoria Mayor Wants Same Dispensary Rules Across Province

Victoria Mayor Lisa Helps said she would prefer if cannabis sales were regulated like liquor, instead of cities having to deal with dispensaries on a case-by-case basis.

Having municipalities create their own rules for the shops creates confusion across the province Helps said — a system that is “utterly frustrating.”

“My choice would be that someone tells us all what to do rather than all of us making it up,” Helps said. “The federal government couldn’t act sooner.”

The City of Victoria released its proposed framework for dispensaries in the city last week. The report recommended a $4,000 licensing fee for marijuana related businesses, compared to $30,000 in Vancouver, as well as a 200 m distance between schools and dispensaries, compared to 300 m in Vancouver.

The differences come from Victoria operating under B.C.’s Community Charter, not the Vancouver Charter that governs the larger city. The Community Charter only allows for licensing fees that are high enough to recoup costs.

Victoria’s smaller distance requirement between schools and dispensaries is also due to different rules that govern the capital.

“This is the exact problem with municipalities taking this on… we get uneven regulations across the province and it makes no sense at all,” Helps said.

City Council will review the report on Thursday and discuss waiting to regulate until after the federal government has revealed its plan for legalization.