The City of Vancouver has awarded their fifth business license under their Medical Marijuana Related Use (MMRU) dealers license to The Healing Centre at 6416 Main St.
The Healing Centre originally operated at 6462 Main St. for two years, but when the new MMRU regulations came out in late 2015, the owner, Spencer Sangara, took it upon himself to to measure the distance between his business and a nearby community centre and noticed he was three meters too close to pass the city's 300 m zoning rule. Luckily, a store a few doors down that was far enough away was available for rent at 6416 Main St. and Sangara closed his store and has been undergoing an extensive remodel at the new location for the past 6 months.
He says they will have their soft opening Monday, Oct. 9, and a grand opening on Saturday, Nov. 5.
"I just wanted to work with the city and stay in their good books because they've been good to me since day one," Sanagara told Lift. "A lot of people said it was the wrong decision to close down, but I'm glad we did what we did. We've put a lot into this. The new store is a huge improvement and we're really excited. We wanted to create something amazing that Vancouver can be proud of."
Vancouver’s licensing process has been progressing slowly for over a year now, after being formally approved in an 8-3 vote by City Council in June of 2015. City Councillor Kerry Jang, the city’s lead on the MMRU ticket, has said the process could take years to complete, blaming issues like background security checks required for the final stage of achieving a Business License.
140 of 176 applications were initially refused in October of 2015 because they were in non-permitted zones or did not meet distancing regulations requiring they be 300 m from other dispensaries, schools, community centres, etc. Jang has said in the past he believes ultimately about 15-20 MMRU licenses will be issued.
Licenses are awarded in three stages. Businesses must first obtain a conditional permit, then a development permit, and finally a business license. While Vancouver awards a license to these businesses, it says it cannot regulate the products they sell. These dispensaries, while licensed by the city, remain illegal under Federal law, as Health Canada frequently reminds.
Victoria also recently began moving forward with their own retail marijuana licensing program, with city council there passing regulations last month that will soon allow businesses to apply for a variance to the city's formal ban on dispensaries, compassion clubs, etc.
5 Business Licenses
Wealth Shop Society – 104-4545 West 10th Ave
Aura Health Studio – MPN Society (Formerly MedPotNow) –1316 Kingsway
Urban Earth Med Society — 1605 Renfrew St
The Healing Centre — 6416 Main St
10 Vancouver MMRU Development Permits
Eggs Canna — 208 East 16 Avenue
LotusLand Fairview Cannabis Society— 1110 W Broadway
Scooter Health Society (Formerly EDEN) — 3441 Kingsway
THCC The Herb Co — 1193 Main St.
The Budda Barn — 2179 West 4th
BC Pain Society — 2894 East Broadway
Westcoast Medicann — 3150 Cambie Street (specifically 3178 Cambie Street)
EVO Medi Society — 1501 Commercial Dr.
Stressed and Depressed — 1357 East 41st
700 W Broadway— WestCanna
19 Dispensaries With Conditional Permits
211 E 17th — Grateful Med
3357 W 4th Ave — Point Grey Cannabis
1712 West 4th Avenue — Apollo Medical Society
1952 West 4th Avenue— Lotusland Cannabis Society
3747 West 10th Avenue — Banana Health Society
3028 Arbutus — Herban Legends
258 West Broadway Sunrise— Wellness Foundation
351 Columbia St— Farm Dispensary
6415 Fraser — The Herb Co
138 E Hastings — Eden Medicinal One
779 Kingsway — The Herb Co
2768 Kingsway — Medicinal Express
2943 Kingsway – Suite A — Sunrise Wellness Foundation
4296 Main Street — Green Cross
1745 Nanaimo Street — The Herb Co
1429 Robson Street — S.W.E.D.
205 Southeast Marine Drive — MMJ Canada
4520 Victoria Drive — Karuna Health
5055 Victoria Dr. — The Herb Co.
Image via thc.care