More than five years after legalization, Surrey approves plan to allow cannabis stores

| David Brown

Surrey City Council has now approved a plan to begin allowing up to 12 cannabis stores in the city.

Council approved the city staff’s proposal in a council meeting on April 8 and will begin accepting applications soon.

In 2023, Surrey City Council began exploring the possibility of allowing cannabis stores, directing city staff to develop a plan. In July of that year, council sent a plan back to city staff to be reworked to address some councillors’ concerns. 

A survey then went out to the public about the proposed plan for up to 12 locations in the city, with up to two for each of six distinct communities: Whalley/City Centre, Guildford, Fleetwood, Newton, South Surrey, and Cloverdale.

Although many residents reported in the survey that they supported more than 12 locations, some councillors said starting with 12 was a good way to avoid the flood of new stores some cities have seen.

Stores must be a minimum of 200m from schools, community centres, and other cannabis stores. 

A previous city council had banned cannabis stores from Surrey entirely. Since then, several stores have popped up on the city’s border in neighbouring communities. Residents can also receive deliveries from stores located in other cities. 

With more than 600,000 residents, Surrey is the second largest city in BC, just behind Vancouver. The BC government currently lists 81 stores as approved in Vancouver. Neighbouring city Langley, with a population of about 150,000, has two cannabis stores, while Delta, another neighbouring city, has a population of about 100,000 and has six cannabis stores.

Pitt Meadows, a small city of about 20,000 about an hour away from Surrey, began allowing cannabis stores last summer. One store has already opened and several other applications are now in the queue.

Richmond, BC, located west of Surrey and home to more than 200,000 people, also does not allow any cannabis retailers.

Many cannabis retailers are located along the city border in neighbouring municipalities, including Langley and Vancouver.

Featured image of Queens Cannabis Co location in Delta, on the western border of Surrey.

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