How many marijuana shops are needed on a single street? We counted at least 9 different medical marijuana outlets along Commercial Drive (from 800 block to 2900 block). Three of these outlets opened after the Council majority passed new bylaws pertaining to marijuana shops on June 24, 2015. Two of the shops are almost side by side (on 2200 block), while one outlet is just beside a Community Centre and Public School (Britannia).
The new bylaws place bans on ATMs on premises and ban the sale of edible products. There is a 300 metre minimum separation distance between marijuana outlets and schools or community centres (and the shops themselves). If the minimum separation requirements in the bylaw were strictly enforced, only one marijuana outlet on Commercial Drive could remain open. People might have lots of questions. Is this the intent of the bylaw? Why does the City make bylaws and then not enforce them? Is there something wrong with the bylaw or with the enforcement? Are some bylaws greater than others? Why does a dog owner get fined $250 for leaving a dog tied up while having a break at a coffee shop, while the City looks the other way for marijuana shops and big developers? Would things change if dog owners united and made political contributions in civic elections?
There’s been a proliferation of marijuana outlets along several arterial roads in Vancouver including Kingsway, Main Street, Broadway, Granville Street and East Hastings. Will the City selectively enforce marijuana bylaws in the future? An underlying principle is equality under the law. All business should expect a level playing field. Council passed a set of bylaws pertaining to medical marijuana retail stores. Will they be applied equitably? Stay tuned.