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Time to put the brakes on more Delta cannabis shops?

The City of Delta has been considering cannabis retail store applications on a case-by-case basis but currently has a freeze on accepting and considering any new applications
city of delta pot shops
The City of Delta this year approved an application by the BC Liquor Distribution Branch to open a cannabis dispensary at Scottsdale Centre in North Delta. Located next door to a government-run liquor store, the cannabis store will have 1,561-squate-feet of retail floor area and 1,098-square-feet for office and storage.

Should the City of Delta’s current moratorium on accepting and considering new applications to open more legal cannabis shops be made permanent?

Prior to the legalization of cannabis in Canada in 2018, Delta council passed a bylaw amendment prohibiting cannabis stores in all non-Agricultural Land Reserve zones, but the city would consider applications on a case-by-case basis.

That’s exactly what’s been happening as, prior to the moratorium, a number of applications were submitted, considered and approved.

Council recently gave the go-ahead for an application by Image Cannabis Co. to open a cannabis dispensary at the Ladner Centre shopping mall. The store will open in a currently vacant unit and will include 608-square-feet of retail storefront and 285-square-feet for office and storage.

Council earlier approved two applications to open non-medical cannabis shops in Tsawwassen as well as at the Scott 72 Centre in North Delta.

Another application to open a cannabis shop at the Tidewater Pub and Liquor Store on River Road also recently got the green light.

This year, an application by the BC Liquor Distribution Branch to open a government-run dispensary at the Scottsdale Centre Mall in North Delta was also approved.

Two other stores, one on Annacis Island and another on Scott Road in North Delta, were earlier given the thumbs-up and are already open for business.

An application to open a dispensary in an industrial area at 7550 River Road is still under review and is the last of the current applications to come to council.

If that River Road application is also approved, Delta would have nine cannabis retail stores spread throughout the city and would equal half the number of liquor stores throughout the community. 

Not only would the nine stores provide relatively quick access for Delta residents to purchase the legal products, they would also make it easier for residents in Richmond and Surrey where those cities still ban cannabis retail outlets.

What’s more, cannabis stores have the ability to offer home delivery throughout the Lower Mainland. The province last week made it even easier for home delivery of legal non-medical cannabis by announcing that retailers can deliver to consumers through common carriers such as Canada Post and delivery-service providers.

As far as whether nine would be enough in Delta, Coun. Dylan Kruger told the Optimist that Delta Police have indicated that cannabis legalization will only be effective at snuffing out the black market if consumers are provided with enough legal access to satisfy demand.

“Having said this, Delta has gone from zero stores to nine in a short period of time. The moratorium on additional applications will allow the community and our planning department to review the impact of these approvals on the black market,” said Kruger.

“In the long-term, market forces will determine whether Delta needs more cannabis stores, or whether we have too many.”

If some of the approved Delta stores begin closing their doors, then the supply is more than sufficient, said Kruger.

If it’s the opposite and there’s inquiries to open additional locations, then the city will have to consider that there’s isn’t enough to meet local demand, he added.