Victoria councillor proposes to cut required distance between pot shops in half


WATCH: The City of Victoria is looking to update its policy on pot shops. It’s all to level the playing field for those who want to enter the market now. As Luisa Alvarez reports, the required distance between stores could be cut in half. 

A city policy requires pot shops in Victoria have to be at least 400 metres away from any other dispensary. But it’s a policy councillor Geoff Young thinks ends up rewarding those who chose to operate illegally, at the expense of those who decided to wait.

“What’s going to happen now is a whole lot of operators that want to enter the market now that it is legal will find that the city is pretty much filled up because it’s going to be hard to find a spot that’s not within one of those 400-metre circles,” said Young.

In turn, giving an upper hand to those whose shops have already been rezoned by the city because under the provincial system any potential cannabis retailer must have a site that’s already been zoned for that before the province will even consider their application.

“And I don’t think we should require those people to essentially buy out the leases or buy the shops of the people who operated illegally and who happen to have gotten this privilege of rezoning from the city,” said Young.

To help level that playing field councillor Ben Isitt is proposing to reduce the distance to 200 metres.

Mayor Lisa Helps says a shorter distance is worth looking at but what that distance would be will have to be discussed as a council.

“This is a new industry so I think we do need to revisit our policy on a regular basis and make sure that it responds to industry need,” said Helps.

Manager at Leaf Compassion Victoria Brendan Domoney says change to the distance requirement is backed by the industry.

“People absolutely want options and they want a market that’s driven by making those choices. We hope that city councillor takes a really hard look at it and comes to the same conclusion that it’s a really good idea to change this regulation,” said Domoney.

While Coun. Isitt’s proposal would reduce the minimum number of metres between each pot shop it would also specify the maximum number of dispensaries allowed in village centers.


Luisa AlvarezLuisa Alvarez

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