British Columbia

Vancouver mayor-elect throws support behind city-approved pot shops

Kennedy Stewart says the 19 cannabis outlets that have played by the city's rules should be given preference under the new legal framework.

Kennedy Stewart says 19 outlets that have played by the city's rules should be given licensing preference

A marijuana store on Robson Street in Vancouver. Mayor-elect Kennedy Stewart said it will take discussions with the province to determine how many licensed recreational marijuana retailers the city will have. (David Horemans/CBC)

The election of Kennedy Stewart as mayor of Vancouver has given some pot shop owners and compassion club operators in the city hope that they will be grandfathered into the new legal framework around recreational cannabis.

Stewart says he thinks the 19 operators previously granted business licences in Vancouver should be given priority because they have been playing by the rules — but it's still unclear how soon new licences will be issued.

Speaking to reporters after the election, Stewart said it will take discussions with the province to determine how many licensed recreational marijuana retailers the city will have.

Pot shops require approval by both the province and the city in the new legalization framework, which came into effect Oct. 18. 

Pre-legalization, only 19 Vancouver locations had fully complied with City of Vancouver licensing requirements. 

Another 46 locations had received land-use approval from the city but no business licence. A further 75 were operating in contravention of the city licensing framework.

So far, the government operated B.C. Cannabis Store in Kamloops is the only legal retailer in the province. 

Public Safety Minister Mike Farnworth has regularly pointed to the municipal election as a reason for the licensing delay.

With files from Canadian Press

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