Life / Health

Licence, rezoning, required for medical marijuana shops in Victoria

Victoria city council has approved new regulations for medical cannabis businesses, but complying with the new bylaw won't be cheap.

Starting immediately, a $5,000 business licence and $7,500 rezoning application are required for all shops where medicinal pot is sold.

The zoning restrictions prevent storefront cannabis retailers from being closer than 200 metres apart and also create an exclusion zone of the same distance around schools.

Pot shops opened since July 28 must immediately abide by the bylaw, meaning they can't operate until all their paperwork is approved, but shops that were in business before then can stay open while their applications are processed.

Although the new rules requires a licence and rezoning for storefront retailers, the city says cannabis-related businesses, mainly selling items related to the drug, require only a business licence, which could cost as little as $500 depending on whether pot is stored on site.

The city says regulations covering the 38 businesses that are operating have been in the works for the last year, and 35 of the shops will need both a business licence and rezoning approval.

The city also says the bylaw does not legalize or permit the sale of cannabis because that is jurisdiction of the federal government.