Guidance and Training from a Cannabis License Consultant Protects Your InvestmentMay 31, 2019
What a Hospitality Industry Consultant Can Do for Your HotelJune 30, 2019
You may wonder why a non-medical retail cannabis store owner would hire a cannabis license consultant to guide and support their business. Understanding the steps in the cannabis licensing process will likely show the value in doing so.
In this article, we’ll give you a quick primer in federal, provincial and local government involvement, then show you the steps involved in obtaining a Vancouver cannabis license. While the process to secure a license and open a store varies from province to province (and even city to city), the level of complexity is similar. Vancouver is an excellent example to highlight what’s involved from the moment you apply to the moment you open your doors for business.
Federal, Provincial and Local Government Roles in Cannabis Licensing
In Canada, federal, provincial and local governments each play a role in cannabis licensing, ensuring that store owners abide by laws, licensing rules and regulations and are good neighbours in their communities.
Federal government creates and enforces laws, establishes which cannabis products retailers are permitted to sell, creates and enforces rules around packaging and promotion, and establishes health and safety rules.
Provincial governments control distribution, establish and enforce cannabis licensing rules and regulations, and liaise with local governments.
Municipal governments seek public feedback, establish zoning rules that dictate permissible locations of non-medical retail cannabis stores, establish and enforce building codes, regulate cannabis store business licensing by-laws, and recommend in favour or against individual non-medical retail cannabis license applications.
With three levels of government involved, cannabis store owners that are serious about their business choose to work with Thrive Liquor & Cannabis Advisors for Alberta and BC cannabis licensing guidance and support.
Vancouver Cannabis Licensing Process
The Vancouver cannabis license process is a typical example of the dance that ensues between business owners, municipal and provincial governments. While the tune you must dance to varies by province and city, many of the “moves” are the same.
- Secure location by way of lease or offer to lease. Ensure the location meets city bylaw criteria.
- Apply to the BC Liquor & Cannabis Regulation Branch (LCRB) for a non-medical cannabis retail license.
- LCRB sends a letter to the City of Vancouver to commence the development process.
- Apply for a City of Vancouver development permit. A development application notification sign is posted on the property for 14 days.
- After public notification, the city reviews the application, decides in favour or against approval, and sends a recommendation letter to LCRB.
- LCRB reviews the City of Vancouver recommendation. If the city is against, the application will be denied. If city is in favour of application, LCRB issues an “approval in principal” letter, which outlines timelines for construction and inspection.
- Build your store.
- Call to arrange inspection.
- Hire staff who hold a valid BC Worker Security Verification, required of all employees of licensed retail cannabis stores in BC.
- The cannabis license is issued by LCRB and a copy is sent to the city. City of Vancouver reviews the cannabis license and store building criteria.
- The city conducts a site inspection and the licensee signs a “good neighbour agreement”, which sets forth the business’s responsibilities and requirements. The business license is paid for (approximate cost is $20,000) and is issued to the non-medical retail cannabis licensee.
- One the BC non-medical cannabis license and the City of Vancouver business license have been issued, the store is permitted to open.
As you can see, the Vancouver cannabis licensing process is an obstacle course. At any point in the process there is the potential risk that the cannabis license application will be stopped cold. We can help by increasing the probability that your cannabis and business license applications will be approved.
Speak to a Cannabis License Consultant Today!
If you’re considering opening a non-medical retail cannabis store in Vancouver (or anywhere else in BC) or Alberta, contact us for a consultation. Working with our expert liquor and cannabis license consultants increases the chances of application approval.