Marijuana dispensaries are very prevalent all around Canada and particularly in Vancouver, British Columbia. They are generally for-profit businesses that sell marijuana and are distinct from both the federal government’s medical marijuana program, as well as compassion clubs, the latter of which are typically not for profit and are generally designed to meet health-based needs.
Although marijuana dispensaries are technically illegal, they are tolerated in many cities, operating in the gray area of the law. In fact, there has been a sharp rise in marijuana dispensaries in Ontario due to the discussion around legalization and the fact that some provinces appear to be moving in favour of marijuana decriminalization and even legalization.
Marijuana dispensaries are now required to be licensed and a failure to administer marijuana without this license has resulted in substantial fines. In fact, as of 2015, there were 80 dispensaries that didn’t have a business license in Vancouver alone. To avoid any problems with the law, it is important that you apply for a business license to run your marijuana dispensary. Here is how you can apply for a license to run a marijuana-related business:
Regulations for Marijuana Dispensaries:
Regulations for marijuana dispensaries are particularly ill defined. Only as of June 2015 have regulations been put into effect. Marijuana dispensaries in Vancouver now have to pay a yearly $30,000 licensing fee as well as be located at least 300 meters away from neighbourhood schools, community centers and other marijuana dispensaries or compassion clubs. They can only be operated in commercial areas. Currently, Ontario follows these bylines as well.
Those who operate dispensaries will also have to sign a Good Neighbour Agreement and be in possession of a Development Permit that also has a standard community notification process. Operators must also go through a review process that consists of three stages in order to obtain a business license to operate a medical dispensary.
These bylines were originally established due to the growing number of dispensaries in Canada, which broke the federal government’s laws that prohibit selling marijuana. In fact, the number of marijuana-related businesses grew by 100 percent in the years of 2013 and 2015. These regulations ultimately aim to strike a balance between meeting the needs of those who are in need of medical marijuana, as well as the desires of the community as it pertains to health and safety.
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