Vancouver narrows dispensary permit field to eight

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Vancouver has selected eight dispensaries to advance to the next stage of the city’s licensing process, whittling down the list from the 11 that cleared the first round in October.

City officials have mailed letters to neighbors of the dispensaries, giving them a chance to voice their concerns or support by Christmas Eve, according to Vancouver Metro.

The move marks the latest step in Vancouver’s effort to regulate its medical marijuana dispensaries, which are illegal under Canadian federal law but have for years been permitted by the city. Vancouver officials adopted regulations over the summer.

There were an initial 176 dispensary applicants – both existing dispensaries and new hopefuls – but only 11 met zoning requirements that they be 300 meters away from schools, youth and community centers, and other marijuana-related businesses.

A report from the Georgia Straight indicated that there ultimately could be more than eight licensees.

Winners will have to pay $30,000 license fees.

Dispensaries that didn’t advance in the licensing process have received or will receive notifications telling them they need to shut down in six months.