The 21st round of Vancouver Medical Marijuana Retail Use (MMRU) appeals was held yesterday, on January 25th, ending in two denials. Gilbert Tan, Namtez Sohal, and Sunny Dhillon were in attendance for the Board of Variance with Tony Tang absent, and George Chow still recused from the MMRU appeals.
The first MMRU appeal for the evening was Eden Medicinal Society at 138 E Hastings. As the locations original unit had been leased to someone else, the society had moved into a neighbouring unit, and the appeal needed to be withdrawn. Eden must now reapply at the new address.
The second two MMRU appeals were for Canna Farmacy Society, and had been adjourned from an August 24th board meeting, to November 4th of last year, then to last night's meeting. The organization had four locations prior to the MMRU, with all four being denied. Their first two appeals for variance were also denied.
Up first was 2929 W Broadway. The location had been refused by the Director of Planning due to its being within 300m of General Borden Elementary School. Represented by operator Mr. Vo, and lawyer Bibhas Vaze, their appeal centred around the 'prohibitionist attitude' of neighbours who had sent complaint letters. They also raised the issue that another MMRU in the area had also been denied, but later granted a variance. Darin Lee, representing the Director of Planning, pointed out that at the time of the other variance, the school had been closed for construction, and there was a chance it would not reopen. The construction is now finished, the closures were halted, and so it was the city's position the variance should not be granted. The Board unanimously agreed, and denied the appeal.
Canna Farmacy's final location, at 8538 Granville St. Originally denied due to its distance from David George Lloyd Elementary. Mr. Vo and Mr. Vase pointed out that another MMRU had been granted a variance in this area too. Their arguments centred around the busyness of the area and the small size of the store's frontage. While Mr. Sohal seemed swayed by this reasoning, the appellants failed to provide any contrasting measurements or further justification.
During the board discussion, they came to understand that the dispensary was on the same side of the street as the school, and seemed disappointed that Granville was not a barrier in this case. Mr. Tan said "it is unfortunate that we can't look at financial or other issues, it is just so limiting." He added that he was 'burdened' by the fact they were both on the same side of the street, and again repeated it was unfortunate. The Board of Variance denied the appeal unanimously.
The Board has approved 27 appeals and denied 37 so far. The next meeting is Feb 7. The final scheduled meeting is Feb 22.
Read all meetings here.
Featured image of Canna Farmacy via Google Maps