According to the British Columbia provincial government, the municipalities of Hope, Whistler, Abbotsford, West Vancouver, Richmond, Surrey, Delta, Pitt Meadows, Coquitlam, and Burnaby as well as the city of Langley still do not provide local access to cannabis, despite cannabis being legalized in those areas two years ago.
The lack of storefronts to legally access marijuana encourages the cannabis black market in these areas. Municipalities have the power to reject the sale of marijuana within their borders in the British Columbia Coast, which is frustrating to many firms in the cannabis industry.
Co-founder and CFO of Burb Steven Dowsley explains that this lack of support impacts firms in the market, especially economically. The lack of marijuana retail infrastructure in these municipalities also stifles growth, which is an aim for most businesses, particularly those whose brands have to deal with cannabis culture and retail.
Dowsley added that the main point of marijuana legalization was to make sure that a marijuana product that was tested and safe was available to the market, which would diminish the illegal market’s share. However, this end result is being compromised by prohibition and the lack of access. He explained that these municipalities and cities were doing a great disservice to both themselves and their people by not allowing safe access to marijuana products.
Association of Canadian Cannabis Retailers executive director Jaclynn Pehota agreed with Dowsley, adding that prohibitions against the legal marijuana market unintentionally drive consumers to the black market. She stated that marijuana was being sold in those municipalities regardless of whether access to the drug was being regulated, as this would not stop the illicit market from functioning.
According to Stats Canada, nearly 64% of marijuana users surveyed last year in the British Coast area reported that they had obtained their marijuana from illicit sources. This shows that things are going well in the unregulated illegal marijuana market.
A news outlet recently reached out to the above municipalities; Burnaby, Delta, Pitt Meadows and Whistler did not respond. However, Langley, Coquitlam and Hope reported that they were in different stages of implementing the framework required to allow cannabis retail to launch. The city of Abbotsford also stated that it had already accepted four applications
The municipalities of Surrey, West Vancouver and Richmond all had prohibitions on marijuana sales, with Surrey announcing that applicants could now submit for rezoning and West Vancouver stated that it would be reviewing applications of cannabis retail individually. However, Richmond held its ground in its decision to continue prohibiting the sale of cannabis and cannabis products.
Nationally, numerous cannabis companies are thriving in Canada. For example, Pure Extracts Technologies Corp. (CSE: PULL) has worked its way into the leadership position in the marijuana extracts market segment within Canada and abroad.
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