Surrey, BC, once again considering plan to allow cannabis stores 

| David Brown

The city of Surrey, BC, which has banned cannabis stores since the beginning of legalization, will again be considering a proposal to allow up to 12 cannabis stores in the city.

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, two for each of six distinct communities: Whalley/City Centre, Guildford, Fleetwood, Newton, South Surrey, and Cloverdale.

The survey results are now available, and Surrey City Council could address the report as early as April 8, the next scheduled council meeting. 

Under the proposed plan, city staff would inform retail cannabis applicants of the results of Surrey’s Request for Expression of Interest (RFEOI) selection process. Up to two applications would then advance to city council for consideration of their site-specific rezoning, including a public hearing, before the possibility of a licence being awarded. 

Retail licences also must receive approval from the provincial government. 

More than 4,000 people responded to the survey, with 96% living in Surrey. About 68% of respondents said they supported having 12 or more cannabis stores in the city. The 47% who strongly disagreed with the proposal said they felt setting a limit of 12 stores was too little, while just 38% of those who disagreed said it was too many. 

There were similar results when respondents were asked about the proposed limit of no more than two stores per community in Surrey. 

Those supporting more stores in Surrey didn’t necessarily mean they were cannabis consumers, though. Of those who supported having 12 or more pot shops in Surrey, just over half (52%) said they visit stores in other communities or purchase cannabis online, and 51% said they would buy from a store in Surrey.

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