The South Island region’s first government-run non-medical cannabis dispensary is coming to Saanich.
Council unanimously approved a BC Cannabis Store proposed for Uptown Shopping Centre after a public hearing on June 16 – the first legal dispensary in Saanich.
“I’m delighted,” said Mayor Fred Haynes said following the vote. “It’s been a while coming.”
Due to COVID-19, Saanich Municipal Hall remains closed to residents and so public hearings are being held via conference call. On the matter of the BC Cannabis Store, there were no callers, Haynes said.
He noted that one resident submitted input by mail and voiced concerns about possible “nefarious behaviour” and bad smells around the shop. Haynes said that while council took these worries into consideration, the pot-shop was ultimately approved because of the benefits.
With a cannabis dispensary in Saanich, residents won’t be driving out of town to access a legal product, Haynes said. They’ll be spending their money in the District and increasing the “economic vibrancy” of the municipality while reducing emissions from a drive to another city.
The BC Cannabis Store will be located in the upper level of Uptown – a centralized location council deemed appropriate for the sale of a controlled substance – and will be run by the B.C. Liquor Distribution Branch so Haynes feels shoppers’ behaviour will be well managed.
Haynes pointed out that based on geography and demographics, Saanich could accommodate several more dispensaries and may one day be home to as many as eight.