May 16, 2018 11:13 pm

B.C. city to pot shop owners: want to open here? Great, open your wallet first

WATCH: The City of Langford is taking applications to set up marijuana dispensaries, but with some major conditions. Kylie Stanton reports.

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Business is booming at cannabis shops around B.C. in anticipation of the day that they can finally sell their products legally.

“We’ve been begging to be legitimized for years,” said Owen Smith of Leaf Compassion, a cannabis dispensary business with locations across Vancouver Island.

Coverage of cannabis dispensaries on Globalnews.ca:

But running a legitimate business could come at a price for anyone who wants to start up a pot shop in the City of Langford, about 15 kilometres from Victoria.

The city has issued a request for proposals that would see five cannabis shops open up there as part of a pilot program.

Anyone making a proposal will have to abide by strict conditions: the shop can’t be within 300 metres for any school, and the shops themselves must be at least 500 metres from each other.

READ MORE: As other Okanagan cities crack down, Vernon moves allow existing pot shops

There’s a financial cost, too.

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Any business that partakes in this pilot program will need a plan for how it will assist the city with policing, bylaw enforcement and administrative costs.

They’ll have to disclose how much of their profits they’re willing to kick back to the city.

“Addressing those things costs money and as we say, we don’t want our taxpayer, our Langford taxpayer on the hook, paying out of their taxes,” said Coun. Lillian Szpak.

“We’d rather see the business owners work in partnership with the city.”

The pilot project is one way that Langford is taking cannabis legalization into its own hands.

Some municipalities feel this is a pre-emptive move.

But if you ask Smith, the cost is worth it — and it’s time for the city and businesses to work together.

“I think that relationship will be valuable,” he told Global News.

© 2018 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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