Vision Vancouver campaign donors among pot shop licence hopefuls

Approvals of licences could make city’s Kingsway a marijuana-retailing strip 


Two groups that donated to Vision Vancouver’s re-election campaign are among the eight hopefuls for permits under city hall’s medical marijuana retail scheme.

Eden Medicinal Society ($2,500) and Med Pot Now Society ($1,750) made donations on November 3, 2014, according to Vision Vancouver’s Elections BC filings.

Med Pot Now Society (MPN) seeks a permit to employ 11 people, including five retail staff and three health practitioners, at its 1316 Kingsway store, which would sell marijuana and offer new age health treatment from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. weekdays and 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. weekends. MPN’s website said the location is under renovation.

Eden operates five stores around Vancouver, but the city is considering only 3441 Kingsway for a permit. THCC The Herb Co. Canada Society (2768 Kingsway) is the third applicant for Kingsway. If city council approves all three, it would make Kingsway Canada’s “greenest” street. The Herb Co. also applied for a Mount Pleasant location at 1189 Main Street.

Other applicants include the Healing Center on Main (2015) Foundation (6416 Main); Buddha Barn Medicinal Cannabis Society (2179 West 4th Avenue); the Wealthshop Social Society (4545 West 10th Avenue; and BC Pain Society, aka 1018580 B.C. Ltd. (2894 East Broadway). 

Residents and businesses within a two-block radius of the proposed locations were to be notified with letters dated December 8 and given until December 24 to provide feedback.

The Vision Vancouver majority voted June 24 to regulate pot shops within commercial zones and 300 metres or more away from competitors, schools, community centres and facilities for vulnerable youth. Business licences are $30,000, but so-called “compassion club” societies will pay just $1,000.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau was elected on a platform that included a promise to “legalize, regulate and restrict access” to marijuana but has yet to announce specifics.

City hall received 176 applications by the August 21 deadline and forwarded 11 to the next phase. Unsuccessful applicants were given six months by city hall to find a new site and reapply.

Under the previous Conservative government, Health Canada licensed 26 pot farms to ship small quantities of certified medical marijuana to patients authorized by a doctor or nurse practitioner. None of the Vancouver retailers is approved by the federal government.

Meanwhile, the BC Government and Service Employees’ Union and BC Private Liquor Stores Association are lobbying to sell non-medical marijuana, should it be legalized. Ontario Premier Katherine Wynne said her province’s LCBO liquor store chain should sell weed, if legalized.