Vancouver bylaws proving effective to curb explosion of marijuana dispensaries


Kingsway dispensary in the approval process.

When delegates this year’s Union of BC Municipalities convention gather in Victoria at the end of the month, regulation of marijuana sales will be front and centre.

As my colleague Kerry Jang pointed out in this report late last month, more cities are regulating dispensaries, following Vancouver’s lead, and many are demanding a share of future revenue to offset the cost.

Despite the difficulties, rules like those adopted in Vancouver are proving effective to curb the runaway proliferation of dispensaries, some of which were blighting local neighbourhood retail districts.

As city staff reported last month, Vancouver is on track to approve and licence between 20 and 30 dispensaries, far below the 80 to 100 operating or planned when the bylaw was created. Many have closed, others are in the approval process and enforcement continues.

Thirty stores have closed and about 50 are subject to enforcement — good news for neighbourhoods looking for orderly management of this new sector.