Vancouver Will Regulate Dispensaries Despite Federal Ban

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The Vancouver City Council has voted to create a bylaw governing the city’s many dispensaries, a move that flies in the face of federal regulations banning medical marijuana sales via storefront businesses.

Under the bylaw, dispensary owners will pay a $30,000 license fee and must be at least 300 meters (984 feet) from community centers, schools and other dispensaries, according to the Canadian Broadcasting Corp. Some will have to close because they’re too close to places where children often congregate, or each other, the news company reported.

At least 100 dispensaries are currently operating in Vancouver, according to industry estimates.

Despite the council’s vote, dispensaries are illegal under federal law, which require licensed distributors to mail MMJ to patients. Still, local police have said they won’t enforce the federal law.

Vancouver’s attempt to legislate dispensaries has angered several officials in Ottawa, including Health Minister Rona Ambrose, who said she was “deeply disappointed” with the city council’s decision, the CBC said.

The move may spur other cities in British Columbia to regulate dispensaries instead of oppose them.

Victoria, the second-biggest city in the province, also has seen a jump in dispensaries and likely will follow Vancouver’s lead, Mayor Lisa Helps told the Times Colonist. City staffers were directed in May to begin crafting regulations for dispensaries.