Council has given the green light to a government run cannabis dispensary in Scottsdale Centre.
On Monday (April 25), mayor and council approved an application to open a non-medial dispensary operated by the B.C. Liquor Distribution Branch (LDB) inside the mall. The dispensary will be in the space currently occupied by Puppies, Fish & Critters, located next door to a liquor store also run by the LDB.
The store will include 145 square metres (1,561 sq. ft.) of retail floor area and 102 square metres (1,098 sq. ft.) for office and storage, and employ eight to 12 people. There will be no cultivation, processing or manufacturing of cannabis products within the store, and all the products sold in the store will be packaged and sold in accordance with Health Canada requirements.
Council voted 6-1 to approve the store, with Coun. Lois Jackson the lone vote against, citing community opposition to the proposal.
Prior to the public hearing on Feb. 15, the city had received four pieces of correspondence in support of the application and 32 opposed, as well as one letter expressing concerns and a petition against the dispensary with 451 signatures. Only two people spoke at the public hearing — one for and one against the dispensary.
Many of those opposed to application expressed concerns about the store’s proximity to local schools and related impact youth. Others cited worries relating to increased crime and impaired driving, while some were concerned that edible cannabis products such as candies and cookies may be packaged in a way that appeals to minors.
At a public hearing, BC Liquor Distribution Branch representative Ryan McKeown noted the edibles sold in the store would be in child-resistant plain packaging and limited to 10 milligram servings. Access to the store would be limited to adults 19 and over with two pieces of ID, while design features such as a two-stage entryway and frosted windows would prevent minors from seeing inside.
Deputy city manager and director of community planning and development Marcy Sangret noted the closest schools — Cougar Canyon Elementary and Seaquam Secondary — are both more than 700 metres away, and the nearest park — Cory Drive Park — is over 400 metres away.
A prior review of the application by city staff found the proposed dispensary’s location met or exceeded the average requirements of other local governments. Delta does not have a policy or bylaw regarding the location of dispensaries as they are prohibited under the city’s zoning bylaw except on a case-by-case basis.
According to a report by city staff, both the city’s community planning and development department and the Delta Police Department reviewed the application and neither anticipates any impacts to the community. The report also notes the Delta School District said the location was “a fairly large distance” from its nearest school.
In response to council enquiries regarding the source of cannabis to be sold in the store, specifically whether products originate from Health Canada-licensed home-based growing operations, LDB general manager and chief executive officer R. Blain Lawson confirmed in a letter to city manager Sean McGill that, under the Cannabis Distribution Act, the LDB may only purchase non-medical cannabis products from producers who have been federally licensed by Health Canada.
In a follow up email, McKeown clarified that for those who want to grow cannabis at home, Health Canada issues certificates for the production or possession of cannabis for medical purposes. Those certificates are different from the federal licences that are issued to individuals or corporations that produce cannabis for commercial purposes, and those licensed for commercial growing are not allowed to do so on residential properties.
The BC Cannabis Store inside Scottsdale Centre will be the city’s third dispensary, and second along the Scott Road corridor.
In late November, 2021, council approved the city’s first dispensary, located at 616 Chester Road on Annacis Island. The 93-square-metre store will be operated by Seed & Stone and is slated to open in March of this year.
On Jan. 24, 2022, council gave final reading to Inspired Cannabis Co.’s application for a dispensary 120 – 8077 Scott Road (Delta Shoppers Mall, next door to JYSK). The dispensary will include 156 square metres (1,679 sq. ft.) of retail storefront and 98 square metres (1 ,055 sq. ft.) for office and storage.
Another six dispensary applications are on the books for various areas of the city.
Two cannabis dispensaries are being pitched along a two-block stretch near the Tsawwassen Town Centre mall. Both proposals — one by Inspired Cannabis at 100 - 1179 56th St. (Bayside Village Mall), the other by Queensborough Cannabis Co. at 1274 56th S.t (Tsawwassen Shopping Centre) — were given first and second reading on March 28 and referred to public hearing.
A dispensary proposed for 5128 Ladner Trunk Road (Ladner Centre Mall), which would be operated by Inspired Cannabis, has been received by council for information and is under review by city staff before making its way back to council for approval.
The city has received three more dispensary applications, though to date none of them has made its way before council.
In North Delta, Queensborough Cannabis is looking to open a store at 7227 Scott Road (Scott 72 Centre), while Kushi Cannabis Co. is hoping to open a location at 10190 River Road, next door to Tidewaters Pub.
Meanwhile, 4Twenty Cannabis is proposing to open a dispensary at 14 - 7550 River Road in Tilbury.
SEE ALSO: Delta approves first cannabis store while Surrey keeps door shut (Nov. 25, 2021)