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Pitt Meadows, BC now accepting retail cannabis applications on a case-by-case basis

Media Partners, Stratcann

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Another BC city that had previously banned cannabis stores could be getting its first one soon. 

In 2018, Pitt Meadows city council voted to prohibit the retail sale of cannabis, although they did allow for interested parties to apply for rezoning of specific sites on a case by case basis. However, the city had no bylaws in place if an applicant did come forward.   

In 2022, cannabis retailer Seed & Stone applied, which led to a city staff report on how to address these types of applications. Council was largely supportive, and passed several bylaws this past April to allow for hearings from applicants looking to open a cannabis store, as well as a separate licence for a cannabis farmgate storefront. Seed & Stone has five locations in BC, including a partnership with the Songhees Nation.

The retailer’s application was approved at third reading by council Tuesday evening July 18. City staff informed council that once it was passed at third reading, the city would then receive a referral from BC’s Liquor and Cannabis Regulation Branch (LCRB). At that time, the city will then hear a fourth reading to adopt the zoning bylaw and request a licence recommendation to the LCRB.

The location, at 725-19800 Lougheed Hwy,  is in a large shopping mall at the eastern edge of town, and within a relative stones throw to two other retail stores in adjoining Maple Ridge. 

The fee to apply for a retail cannabis licence in Pitt Meadows is $1,000, while a farmgate application are $2,500. The licence fee is $157. 

While Pitt Meadows hasn’t allowed retail stores, it is home to several cannabis growers and processors. One councillor noted the possible discrepancy. 

“As we all are aware, the city of Pitt Meadows enjoys quite an industry of growing the stuff. We just don’t sell it. So, I’m not quite sure what the difference is, to be quite blunt,” Councillor Bob Meachen pointed out when city staff first presented to council last November. 

Surrey, BC’s second largest city by population after Vancouver, which also banned cannabis stores, is currently reconsidering its ban, as well. Richmond BC, located west of Surrey and home to more than 200,000 people, also does not allow any cannabis retailers, but representatives of the city have said they have no interest in lifting the ban. 

Vikram Sachdeva, the founder of Seed & Stone, which operates five other locations in BC, says he and his team have been the first cannabis store in several communities.

“We were the first ones in Delta, first ones in Hope, and one of the first in Coquitlam. We’ve always tried to work to change the minds of cities on why it is important to allow cannabis retail.”

Sachdeva says they chose the location for their store due to its proximity to other amenities after an extensive search of the area. Being located in a large outdoor shopping centre was important, he explains. 

“To have a successful store, we need to be on a level playing field—having a location that is retail oriented, that has big box stores that can bring in the foot traffic, So we just wanted to put it where it can showcase our brand and is convenient for the community. There’s a liquor store there, there’s a convenience store there, there’s other amenities, and now this can be a part of their routine as well.”

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