The number of provincially approved cannabis stores in Vancouver just doubled, with the government this week giving the green light to three new stores in the city. The B.C. government's fourth approval of a cannabis store this week was for a store in Salmon Arm, and that brings the total number of approved cannabis stores in the province to 25.
The three new Vancouver stores officially "do not have a municipal business licence from the City of Vancouver, and are not yet approved to legally operate a cannabis retail store in Vancouver," the city said in an emailed statement to Business in Vancouver.
Business licences in the city of Vancouver cost $33,097 per year, or 331 times that of some smaller cities that have cannabis stores, such as Kimberley.
The Donnelly Group, known for its many pubs and restaurants, has two of the newly provincially approved Vancouver stores:
•4296 Main Street, near East 26th Avenue; and,
•8425 Granville Street, in the Marpole neighbourhood.
Both of those stores will be branded Hobo – a controversial name among some in the cannabis community.
BIV on March 11 reported that Donnelly had wanted to open those locations. He has his sights set on six more B.C. locations, with two of those being in Vancouver: on Robson Street, between Thurlow and Bute streets; and on Nelson Street near Granville Street.
The Donnelly Group becomes the second entrepreneur to open two Vancouver cannabis stores, after City Cannabis Co., which opened the first legal cannabis store in Vancouver on January 4, and then followed that up with a second store soon afterward. City Cannabis then followed up that success by agreeing in April to be acquired by Wildflower Brands for $45 million in stock.
The third newly provincially approved cannabis store in Vancouver is at 3039 Granville Street, near West 14th Avenue and will be operated by the JAK Group, which is known for operating liquor stores. BIV reported in April that JAK Group principal Mike McKee intended to have final approval for that store, branded Muse, by the end of the month.
Outside of the two City Cannabis Co. stores, the only currently operating legal cannabis store in the city of Vancouver is operated by Evergreen Cannabis Society. Its store at 2868 West Fourth Avenue was the first legal cannabis location in the city to be approved, but delays caused it to officially be the second store in the city to open.