City staff are recommending council approve five applications for cannabis shops in Victoria, after mostly favourable or neutral response received from public. (Google map)

Public consultation complete, City staff recommend approval of 5 cannabis shops

Council to vote on recommendations March 14

Five cannabis storefront applications are clearing the final hurdles to get a business licence to operate in Victoria, after they were met with little resistance during public consultations.

City staff are recommending council approve the five applications at the next council meeting on March 14. If council approves the recommendations, the applications will be sent – with comments about community impact and the views of residents – to the province’s Liquor and Cannabis Regulation Branch (LCRB).

The LCRB is responsible for issuing cannabis retail store licences under the authority of the Cannabis Control and Licensing Act (the Act) and regulations.

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Cloud Nine Collective , 778 Fort St.

City staff sent out public notification letters to property owners and occupiers within 100 meters of the address, for a total of 485 letters. They received four letters back, two in support of the application and two opposed.

Opponents were concerned that a cannabis store is not suitable for the area, could result in a loss of customers for nearby businesses and the business could lead to more public consumption in the area.

Cloud Nine had previously obtained a business licence on July 24, 2017 during the time of pre-legalization when the city was responsible for issuing licences. It has always complied with municipal rules and suspended operations on Oct. 23, 2018, in order to comply with the new provincial requirements.

RELATED: Five Victoria cannabis shops one step closer

Clarity Cannabis, 851 Johnson St.

The City sent out 951 letters to property owners and occupiers within 100 meters of the address and received 12 letters. There were 10 letters in support of the application and two opposed.

The two respondents who opposed the application shared a concern that the store would not have a positive impact on the community and would aggravate existing community issues. One respondent noted the high-volume of youth attending a school nearby.

The applicant was involved in previous operations of a shop called Medijuana at the same address. Medijuana applied for a business licence on Sept. 23, 2016 but did not receive it due to outstanding building permits. Medijuana continued to operate and received two municipal tickets in 2018 – both in the amount of $500 and both have been paid. They have suspended operations while they await a licence.

Clarity Cannabis, 603 Gorge East St.

A mail-out of 170 letters to neighbouring property owners and occupiers within 100 meters of the address resulted in seven letters of response – all supporting the application but one with some provisions.

A nearby place of worship proposes to restrict the hours of operation to be closed on Sunday from 9:30 a.m. to 12 p.m.

Clarity Cannabis at 603 Gorge East St. obtained a business licence on June 15, 2018 and has complied with municipal rules. They have never been issued a ticket, do not owe money to the City, and have been a compliant operator. They suspended operations on Oct. 23, 2018 in order to comply with the new provincial requirements.

RELATED: Legalization at the legislature: Victoria celebrates with free cannabis

The Original FARM, 1402 Douglas St.

The City sent 334 letters to neighbouring property owners and occupiers and received one letter in response –supporting the application.

The Original Farm obtained a business licence on May 25, 2018 and has been a compliant operator. They have suspended operations in order to comply with the new provincial requirements.

The Act requires a licensed cannabis retail store to have non-transparent walls, which would require the applicant to alter the building exterior. As the building is heritage designated, alterations to the exterior would require a Heritage Alteration Permit.

The Original FARM, 3055A Scott St.

A mail-out of 532 letters to neighbouring property owners and occupiers resulted in six letters of response. All the respondents voiced concern with the application moving forward and two opposed the application.

The respondents are concerned about the impact of previous operations on the community, including customers using limited residential parking, illegal pedestrian crossing between residential parking and the cannabis retail store, public consumption, noise, rowdy behaviour, litter, and proximity to schools, after-school care, and a mall.

The Original Farm obtained a business licence on April 26, 2017 and has complied with municipal rules. It suspended operations to comply with the new provincial requirements.

This location would also require a Heritage Alteration Permit.

An advocacy group provided approximately 1500 letters in support of the five applications currently awaiting a council decision.

A vote on the recommendations is scheduled on the council agenda for March 14.


 

keri.coles@blackpress.ca

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