It’s high time Surrey opens the door to cannabis stores, a business group says – and the city’s new mayor seems to agree.
Surrey Board of Trade president and CEO Anita Huberman is calling on Mayor Brenda Locke and council to create a policy that would allow cannabis operators to do business in the city.
“This includes implementing an efficient cannabis regulatory framework, including amendments to zoning bylaws, business licence bylaws, bylaw notice enforcement bylaws, and municipal ticket information bylaws,” Huberman said Wednesday, the same day the board of trade released a report called “Surrey’s Cannabis industry needs.”
“This type of framework will provide regulations on the locations and operations of cannabis production and processing facilities and retail stores for Surrey,” she added.
Seed & Stone is a licenced cannabis retailer that has stores in Victoria and across the Lower Mainland – except Surrey, where it headquarters.
Roberto Cruz, marketing manager at Seed & Stone, told the Now-Leader this means there is “a huge chunk of the population that does not have access to safe and legal, taxable cannabis.”
Surrey residents can, however, order cannabis online to their home.
In an email to the Now-Leader, Locke stated the new city council is considering allowing cannabis stores in the city.
“I have asked staff to work on a report to develop a measured approach for the potential introduction of retail cannabis locations in Surrey. Once completed, the report will be brought forth to Council for consideration,” stated Locke.
Councillor Linda Annis told the Now-Leader that this report is expected soon, but she was unsure of an exact date. She said cannabis stores should be allowed to operate in Surrey.
“The residents of Surrey shouldn’t be forced to go to neighbouring municipalities or to buy the product illegally,” she said. “We should be able to have stores, but do it in a way that respects our community, much like what we do with liquor stores.”
Annis said that this would include strategic placement of the stores in the downtown city centre and not near schools.
“I think to give the residents of Surrey confidence, we should be asking our cannabis store owners to sign a good neighbour agreement as well.”
Councillor Mike Bose was not in favour of the legalization of cannabis.
“But since it’s been done, I think the city needs to find a way to accommodate cannabis operations.”
Former mayor Doug McCallum told the Now-Leader in 2018, when he was campaigning for mayor, that he was against cannabis stores in the city until crime was under control.
Four years later in 2022, he said that crime was more under control.
“We feel, at least, comfortable that we could put two stores in. We’re not going to put in a huge number of stores like some cities are,” said McCallum. To date, no stores have opened.
According to the Government of B.C. website, Delta currently has five stores, White Rock has one, the Township of Langley has one and Maple Ridge has five.
Cruz said Seed & Stone would open a Surrey location if the city allowed it.