The Wealth Shop Society made Canadian history yesterday by becoming the first licensed dispensary under the City of Vancouver's new regulatory system.
According to the Vancouver Courier, it's located in an area with a mix of retail and commercial businesses. It shares a parking lot with a Safeway, and operates in a complex that includes a law office, dentist and veterinarian. It's also a new retail dispensary that did not already have a location in Vancouver.
"We are out to reinvent how things are done," the company says on its website. "Dispensaries have a bad name in Vancouver. We want to create an approachable, accessible and safe environment for all our members."
Located in Point Grey, the Wealth Shop Society is a licensed dispensary, not a compassion club. For-profit dispensaries have to pay a $30,000 annual licensing fee. The non-profit compassion clubs only have to pay $1,000.
Malik Sayadi told The Globe and Mail they have worked hard to gain support from neighbours in the area and meet all of the bureaucratic requirements to get the licence.
"Instead of trying to become the first ones there, we just went through all the proper procedures and worked closely with everybody that wanted us to work with them," said Sayadi.
Andreea Toma, Vancouver's chief licensing inspector, told the Courier this shows the city is willing to work with dispensaries that meet the new rules and sign a "good neighbour agreement."
"It signals that the city is committed to this – it's not that we were never willing to issue a business licence," said Toma. "If anything that they do doesn't meet our current regulations, we will bring them back in and have a chat with them. The good neighbour agreement signed yesterday clearly indicated that, and they were all willing to sign it."