Going to Pot: Musings on “medical marijuana-related” applications in Vancouver’s Norquay neighbourhood

The following article is reproduced with kind permission from Eye on Norquay:

Going to Pot

When considered as a part of Vancouver, the Norquay area already seems to have acquired far more than its share of the grassy retail outlets that have sprouted up across our greenest city. As the City of Vancouver starts to look for its cut of this “free” enterprise, questions arise. As always, Why Norquay? Could pot shop sprawl be just another aspect of the “revitalization” touted by mass rezoning? The favorite planner question provides hollow echo effect: “Don’t you want a nicer neighborhood with more amenities?” Data below suggests the emergence of yet one more east-west disparity (7 vs 2) in Vancouver.

One Norquay Development Application So Far

The application for 2768 Kingsway — DE419426 is the only application so far for Norquay. Here is what a viewing of the proposed location reveals:

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Specific Dilapidated Storefront

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Context: Tear-Down Half-Block East of Earles

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Development Application Signage

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At Rear of Site: Clean-up of Long-Term Dumping Accumulation on 18 December 2015

The owner of this property has abused the Norquay streetscape and neighborhood for a long time. Should this poor treatment of the local community be rewarded with a new medical marijuana license? Also, after such an extended period of neglect, can the existing building structure really satisfy licensing requirements and inspections — unless perhaps some of the anticipated cash flow gets diverted into purchasing adequate nudge-nudge-wink-wink?

New Development Applications Across Vancouver

The City of Vancouver has begun a listing for “Medical Marijuana-Related Use Development Applications” at the foot of its

Development Application Information Web Page
http://former.vancouver.ca/commsvcs/developmentservices/devapps/

Here is a listing by date of notification letters for the nine applications listed as of 24 December 2015:

        Dec  4    4545 West 10th Avenue       Wealthshop Social Society

        Dec  8    2894 East Broadway          BC Pain Society

        Dec  8    2179 West 4th Avenue        Buddha Barn

        Dec  8    2768 Kingsway               Medicinal Express

        Dec  8    3441 Kingsway               Scooter Health Society

        Dec  8    1193 Main Street            Herb Co Society

        Dec  8    6416 Main Street            Healing Centre

        Dec  9    1316 Kingsway               MPN Health Society

        Dec 15    1404 East 57th Avenue       Green Room Society

Addresses above are taken from the notification letters. These often vary from the addresses listed in the link on the application web page. If this routine part of the “process” shows that degree of inconsistency, what sort of schmozz is going on at City Hall?

The Rest of Norquay

Norquay is already serviced by the following half-dozen “operations” — which thus far show no sign of applying for an appropriate business license:

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Budzilla at 2267 Kingsway

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Canna Mart at 2487 Kingsway

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Weeds Glass & Gifts at 2580 Kingsway

Just to the east of the Norquay boundary lie three more establishments:

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Eggs Canna at 2076 Kingsway

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Green Cross Society at 2145 Kingsway

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Eastside Compassion Society at 2127 Kingsway

Lots More Questions

1 —  With six non-permitted storefronts already operating in the Norquay area, why would City of Vancouver consider an application for a seventh “permitted” one?

2 —  What have these enterprises contributed to Norquay? Business license fees? Activation of retail streetscape? Promotion of walkability? Revitalization of Kingsway? Donations for local school programs?

3 —  Since the mass rezoning of 1,912 Norquay single-family properties is supposed to result in a “neighbourhood centre,” why should pot shops be strung throughout Norquay?

4 —  The gingko leaf shape is stamped into Norquay sidewalks as a symbol of the recent planning, even though City of Vancouver in the delivery has substituted other trees for what the plan specified. Wouldn’t it be appropriate now to grind away those symbols and replace them with marijuana leaves?

5 —  Why can’t a business-oriented individual apply for a City of Vancouver “license” to distribute, say, medical ethanol?

6 —  In light of the approach toward marijuana purveying over the past few years, why should Norquay residents have any respect for City of Vancouver management, planning, or bylaws?
[Possible answer: Lack of untaxed cash to buy the desired respect.]

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