First marijuana dispensary gets business licence in Victoria

Farmacy Dispensary is the first storefront cannabis retailer to receive a business licence from the City of Victoria.

Farmacy, on 3055 Scott St. near Hillside Avenue and Shelbourne Street, was inspected and determined to be complying with all rules under the city’s new regulatory scheme for pot shops.

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Manager Andrew Gill could not be reached for comment, but the business posted a photo of the licence on social media and wrote: “We are now the first licensed dispensary in all of Victoria!! This is a huge step forward and we are very excited to be on the forefront of this progressive change.”

The dispensary did not require rezoning before being granted a business licence, as the property is subject to an existing land-use contract that provides for a broad range of commercial uses and takes priority over the city’s zoning bylaw.

To date, one dispensary property has been successfully rezoned. Another 26 applications are in progress.

Farmacy was given a business licence despite being technically too close to a school. City bylaws require dispensaries to be a minimum of 200 metres from schools. The dispensary is 119 metres from the property line at Lansdowne Middle School’s sports field, although it is 398 metres from the main school building.

Deane Strongitharm, of City Spaces Consulting, wrote in a letter to council that the dispensary has been operating for 1 1/2 years to “rigorous standards” and has not had any problems.

Business licensing requirements prohibit cannabis consumption in dispensaries, restrict opening hours to 7 a.m.-8 p.m. and do not allow anyone younger than 19 to be in the stores.

kderosa@timescolonist.com

— With files from Bill Cleverley

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