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Licensed pot shops coming to Vancouver as early as March

It’s still illegal to sell marijuana in stores, according to the Criminal Code of Canada, but soon — maybe as early as March  Vancouver will be handing out business licences to a handful of pot shops that have jumped through all the regulatory hoops established by the city.

“We think the first DE [development permit] will be issued sometime next week,” said Andreea Toma, Vancouver director of licensing. “Then then we anticipate by this spring we could have the first business licence issued.”

Toma says there are now 14 marijuana businesses at the front of the line, hoping to get approval for a development permit.

Andreea Toma

Andreea Toma is Vancouver’s chief licence inspector. (CBC)

“Once they receive their development permit, then they’ll be asked to take full application on the business licence,” said Toma. “That’s when some of the other requirements in regards to security, police information checks of the owner and the directors — be it a society or a for-profit model — and some of the other requirements of our business licence bylaws would come into play.”

The businesses seeking a licence have been asked to provide a security plan.

“We’ve heard loud and clear that staff shouldn’t work alone. So there must be two staff working there at all time,” she said. “We’re requesting everyone provide a plan in terms of how they’re managing the safety of their people and how they’re dealing with the product.”

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