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12 Cannabis Stores Proposed for Surrey

BC’s second largest city is finally allowing cannabis retail stores. The City of Surrey released its draft plan proposing up to 12 cannabis stores in the city.

Proposed Framework

The city has restricted the sales of recreational cannabis since legalization in 2018. The draft framework proposes to allow up to a maximum of 12 cannabis stores in the city with two permitted in each of Surrey’s six town centres (City Centre, Guildford, Fleetwood, Newton, Cloverdale, and Semiahmoo).

This amounts to a density of 0.03 stores per square kilometre and a store to population ratio of 1:47,000. In comparison, Vancouver has a store to population ratio of 1:8,200.

Store Population Ratio
Courtesy City of Surrey

Other requirements of the proposed framework include:

  • Cannabis stores are only permitted in town centres and commercially designated areas and are only permitted on commercially zoned land that allows retail stores.
  • Cannabis stores cannot be located within 200 metres from sensitive users and areas to limit exposure to children and youth. These include:

o   Schools

o   Community and recreation centres

o   Parks and playgrounds

o   Existing cannabis retail and production locations

Assessment Criteria

The city has developed an application process for cannabis retail store proposals. If applicants meet all the pre-screening requirements, applications will then be reviewed and ranked.

The following selection and scoring criteria are proposed to assess candidates:

  • Experience of the operator
  • Parking and access plan
  • Visibility, lighting, and crime prevention design
  • Signage and building face design
  • Surrey-based business

The draft framework is open to public feedback here. The proposed policy will be brought forward to City Council.

Retailer Reaction

Vikram Sachdeva, founder and CEO of Seed & Stone was excited to see the draft proposal released. Up until now Sachdeva, a Surrey resident with a head office in the city, has been forced to open up cannabis stores in the surrounding cities.

“We have been working with the city and the Surrey Board of Trade for a long time to allow cannabis retail,” he says.

Sachdeva thinks the 12-store framework is a good start and understands the 200 m distance requirement between stores. “As the community gets more comfortable with cannabis stores and the population grows, the city will understand how it is being served. Cannabis is a commodity, and we want to serve the community. If we want to ensure people get access to safe product and we reduce the illicit market, it is very important to see convenience for the population in Surrey,” he says. “There is room for more stores, but at this point I understand the city is taking a cautious approach.”

Up until now, Surrey residents have been going to the surrounding cities, like Delta, Langley, and White Rock to get their cannabis. But Sachdeva doesn’t think the 12 stores opening in Surrey will have much impact on cannabis businesses in those cities.

“At the end of the day, White Rock only has one store right now. It is not like there are a ton of stores in the surrounding areas. It comes down to the type of people, the people running it, the operator, how much customers like it, product selection, etc.,” Sachdeva explains.

He is also excited to apply for a license in Surrey. “As a local business owner with a head office, since the beginning of legalization, in Surrey and having lived in Surrey for the past 25 years, I will for sure be pursuing a store here,” Sachdeva says. “I have been part of the community for a very long time. Seed & Stone has also partnered with the Songhees First Nations and we’re very dedicated to scaling the company to help create generational wealth for our First Nations’ partners.”

Tags: BC Cannabis (33), BC cannabis retail (25), BC cannabis store (29), BC municipalities (6), British Columbia cannabis (45), cannabis desert (5), Seed & Stone (3), Vikram Sachdeva (3)