Delta approves first cannabis store while Surrey keeps door closed – North Delta Reporter
After the town of Delta gave the green light to a cannabis retail store on Monday, entrepreneurs in the now legal industry are wondering when, if at all, Surrey will follow suit.
While it is possible to buy cannabis on the black market in Surrey, there is no way to do so legally, although the federal government legalized the sale of recreational cannabis in 2018.
The intention was to keep the profits out of the pockets of criminals, however, it is up to the province and the municipality to approve the retail outlets.
In the first few months after legalization, Surrey received up to nine requests to build stores. Some of the applications had already received provincial approval, but the city was firm on its policy of not allowing retail cannabis stores.
In January 2019, the city’s public security director said Black press media that the city “does not accept any candidacy”.
“The regulations banning the retail and production of cannabis in Surrey have not changed and remain in place,” said Jas Rehal at the time.
Contacted on Wednesday, the City of Surrey has not yet responded to a request for information on whether or not to maintain the by-law.
According to Statistics Canada, by the end of 2020, almost 20% of Canadians aged 15 and over had used cannabis in the previous three months.
Currently, residents of Surrey must travel to White Rock, where a number of cannabis retail stores are located, or shop in New Westminster.
Amar Sandhu, owner of Central Cannabis, said his company applied to open a store shortly after legalization. Sandhu said that at the time of submitting the application, they were already approved by the Provincial Alcohol and Cannabis Regulatory Branch.
“At that time there were three nominations that went to the city, one was ours,” he said. “But there was no support.”
Sandhu said he had made efforts to talk to councilors, including the mayor, about the possibility of a store in Surrey.
“The mayor said ‘not all councilors are together. We’ve got to get everyone on the same board together to endorse this.
Mayor Doug McCallum did not respond to a News from the Ark of Peace request for comment.
“It’s just a closed door. Nothing is moving forward. They listen, but nothing shows up. Nobody is raising the issue, ”Sandhu said.
Seed & Stone owner Vikram Sachdeva, who owns a cannabis retail store that has yet to open on White Rock’s Marine Drive and has been given permission to open Delta’s first store, said that ‘he would jump at the chance to open a store in Surrey.
The municipal political barrier, he said, is just one of the many obstacles facing the cannabis industry.
“It’s a demanding industry. No bank wants to work with us, no loan is granted. There is no line of credit. Financially…. Maybe I should sell some of my other stuff just to keep this afloat. No matter how good a trader you are, or how much experience you have had, and how good a citizen you have been, you are associated with cannabis. I don’t even know why they legalized it, ”Sachdeva said.
Enough time has passed, Sachdeva said, that it has been proven that cannabis retail stores do not increase crime rates in the neighborhoods where they are located.
He said it was only a matter of time before Surrey changed its bylaws to be more open to a cannabis store.
“I understand that the city and the staff are bound by the decisions they make and as soon as the leaders decide it’s a good thing for the city, I’m sure they will make that decision. We will wait patiently.
Wednesday, News from the Ark of Peace reached out to the board. Steven Pettigrew, Laurie Guerra, Mandeep Nagra and Doug Elford.
Of the advisers contacted, only Guerra and Elford responded.
Elford said he supports cannabis retail stores within city limits, while Guerra said she would agree to a pilot or trial, “with maybe a store in Surrey “.
“I haven’t had a lot of community desire for them actually or at least very few have approached me,” Guerra said in an email.
“White Rock and Semiahmoo seem to offer plenty of access to satisfy those who wish to legally participate. “
Com. Brenda Locke has previously expressed support for a cannabis retail store in Surrey.