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Surrey will finally allow cannabis retailers. Now, the competition for licences begins


More than five years after marijuana was legalized in Canada, B.C.’s second-largest city has given the green light to cannabis retail stores.

In a unanimous vote Monday night, Surrey’s mayor and council agreed to a framework that will allow up to 12 cannabis retailers in the city.

“Cannabis has been a legal substance for a number of years now, and I think it’s high time that residents of Surrey can buy cannabis in their own city, not having to buy online or go to other municipalities,” said councillor Linda Annis.

John Kaye, the CEO and co-founder of Burb Cannabis, which has eight locations in Metro Vancouver and Victoria, said it’s a long time coming.

“Cannabis is such a convenience purchase, and having to drive outside of where you live to get what some deem essential, some view it as medicine and obviously the recreational side, I think it’s a no-brainer,” said Kaye.

The team at Burb is interested in opening a Surrey location, but expects competition to be fierce.

“I think when you dwindle it down to groups that have an operating history and track record and things like that, it will thin out. But definitely it will be competitive. I think there is a lot of great retailers here in B.C. that will be trying to serve the market there,” said Kaye.

While staff will make recommendations, it’s ultimately up to city council to decide which proposals are approved.

“I’d like to see who has the best offering that they can make to Surrey, the best locations. They have got to be in great visible locations, not close to schools our playgrounds or any other place that kids frequent. But I think it’s all about when it comes down to it, the proposal,” said Annis.

Anita Huberman with the Surrey Board of Trade is urging mayor and council to consider local entrepreneurs.

“The big retailers, the big chains, yes, they’re important as part of the economy. But let’s give our local cannabis retailers a chance as well. So there needs to be fairness in terms of the selection, in terms of who our retailers are going to be within Surrey,” said Huberman.

Burb wants to be one of those retailers. But regardless of whether it gets one of the 12 licences, Kaye says the decision to allow cannabis stores in Surrey is the right one, adding “this is a big win for the city, the residents and the industry as a whole.” Top Stories

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