Cannabis store customers in Delta, sometime in the future, may be able to get products in more convenient locations.
Council at its July 12 meeting, approved the opening of what will be the city’s first dispensary on Annacis Island, a store that will be operated by Seed & Stone at 616 Chester Road.
Prior to the legalization of cannabis in Canada in 2018, Delta council passed a bylaw prohibiting cannabis stores in all zones, but agreed to keep the door open to eventually consider them on a case-by-case basis.
The idea was to restrict any potential new businesses to the industrial zone.
Council has since approved grow facilities in the zone.
Many on social media supported the Seed & Stone application in Delta but also complained about the location being an inconvenient one.
During council’s discussion, it was agreed well-regulated legal cannabis stores have proven to be a safe alternative to the illegal market.
Several councillors including Coun. Dylan Kruger suggested it may be time to consider other more convenient locations, but continue considering them on a case-by-case basis.
He said there’s a growing expectation that people can have “reasonable access” to the legal products.
Noting he visited the Seed & Stone location in Chilliwack to see how that store was run, and was impressed with the operation, Mayor George Harvie said Delta has had a number of inquiries about potential new locations.
Harvie said legal stores are “quality” and nothing like the illegal retailers that had been operating in Vancouver.
A report to council notes that after a Liquor and Cannabis Regulation Branch licence is granted, any future request to relocate the licence to another location in Delta would still have to be referred to the city for approval.
Vikram Sachdeva, Seed & Stone founder and CEO, told the Optimist he’s pleased with council’s decision and understands why the city had restricted any potential stores to industrial zones, but he hopes his business will prove its value and that it will be safe to have others in the future located in a commercial zone.
He said a lot of the stigma and fear about legal cannabis dispensaries has gone away.
“We wanted to make sure that at least, for the time being, we had a store that could serve the community now. Yes, this might not be the best area for the business but, right now, we’re focused on the community need,” he said. “We strive to have a store closer to customers, but now we just wanted to create a pathway to prove ourselves as a retailer and operator before we’d ask for anything more.”
Sachdeva noted he’s hoping Delta will eventually allow a Seed & Stone retail outlet on Scott Road in North Delta.
He added home delivery will also become a major part of their business.
Many other local governments have authorized one or more cannabis dispensaries, however, some including Richmond and Surrey continue to prohibit them.