With cannabis being legalized this year, the City of Vancouver is putting regulations in place around its sale.

Many people know there are regulations around who can purchase cannabis – but what about those who want to build and operate a cannabis dispensary in Vancouver? A certain set of permits is required to do so.

Here is a snapshot of the information that is currently available.

The requirements to build cannabis dispensaries in the City of Vancouver


1. Proper zoning

Where you want to open your cannabis dispensary is an important consideration. If the area is not properly zoned, you will need to apply for a zoning change. This step will have to be taken before you can even apply for a Municipal Development Permit.

2. Municipal Development Permit

To build a new structure or run a business in the City of Vancouver, you must have a Municipal Development Permit. Development Permits are essentially approvals from the City for you to use a site in a designated manner.

The process of applying for Municipal Development Permits is challenging at the best of times. As cannabis dispensaries are relatively new, however, the applications can be even more confusing. Consider working with a company like Draft on Site to help you navigate the many complications in the Municipal Development Permit process.

3. Building Permits

If you are building a location for your cannabis dispensary or conducting significant renovations to an existing space, you may need additional Building Permits. Building Permits are essentially approvals from the City for you to build or significantly renovate a structure.

In order to apply for these permits, you will need to provide a site plan and floor plans as well as many other drawings and information related to the project scope. Depending on the work being done, you may also need permits related to specific tradespeople and their work.

The requirements to run cannabis dispensaries in the City of Vancouver


1. Municipal Business License

A Municipal Business License is a requirement to run any business in the City of Vancouver. This license is non-transferable and must be renewed yearly. Licensing fees are high for cannabis dispensaries, running up to $30,000.

2. Provincial Cannabis Retail License

In order to run a cannabis dispensary in the City of Vancouver, you will need another license as well: the Provincial Cannabis Retail License. Your company will also have to sign a “good neighbour agreement” that sets out responsibilities to the community around your retail location(s).

Remember that you will not be granted a License if you are within 300 metres of a school, community centre, youth facility, neighbourhood house, or another cannabis dispensary.