Skip to content

Council approves policy ‘framework’ governing cannabis retail in Surrey

Policy allows for up to 2 retail stores per community in Whalley/City Centre, Guildford, Fleetwood, Newton, South Surrey, and Cloverdale
Surrey City Hall. (File photo: Anna Burns)

Surrey council on Monday approved a policy “framework” governing cannabis retail in Surrey.

Last July, city staff proposed a plan that would limit the number of stores to one in each of Surrey’s six town centres – City Centre, Guildford, Fleetwood, Newton, Cloverdale, and Semiahmoo, with priority given to city-owned sites. Following consultation with cannabis merchants, staff revised the plan. In January a public feedback campaign saw 4,169 surveys completed with 96 per cent of respondents from Surrey.

“The results were supportive of retail cannabis in Surrey with 68 per cent of respondents supporting 12 or more stores city-wide,” reads a corporate report from Surrey’s general manager of planning and development Don Luymes and Joey Brar, general manager of corporate services.

“Additionally, 51 per cent of respondents reported they would be likely to visit future cannabis retail stores in Surrey.”

READ ALSO: Survey input sought as Surrey proposes to ‘carefully allow’ 12 cannabis stores

READ ALSO: Surrey council asks city staff to re-think cannabis retail store project

READ ALSO ZYTARUK: Gee, academics discover smoking pot leads to bad school grades

The new policy allows for up to two retail stores per Surrey community – in Whalley/City Centre, Guildford, Fleetwood, Newton, South Surrey, and Cloverdale – but only to be permitted in areas designated as City Centre, Town Centre, or Commercial in the OCP. The stores must be a minimum of 200 metres from public schools or provincially funded independent schools, City of Surrey community centres and recreation centres, and existing “Cannabis Retail or Production Locations” within Surrey.

Coun. Linda Annis asked if more stores will be allowed as Surrey’s population grows. Luymes replied that’s not yet been considered.

“I think we’ll cross that bridge when we come to it,” he said, adding this report addresses “the initial wave.”

“If council wants to go in that direction, are successful and busy, we’d certainly consider it. We are conscious about not flooding the market too quickly.”

Coun. Mandeep Nagra questioned why the minimum distance doesn’t also apply to churches, Gurdwaras and temples.

“That hasn’t been considered, and perhaps for a number of reasons,” Luymes replied. “A place of worship is difficult to define. There are house churches, there are, you know, small temples.

“A place of worship could be in a leased facility, it could be in a private home and I think it might be a difficult thing to establish separation distances from.” The policy before council, he said, “really kind of focuses on areas where youth and children would be expected to be congregating without kind of direct adult or parental supervision, that’s kind of the lens through which we looked at this.”

About the Author: Tom Zytaruk

I write unvarnished opinion columns and unbiased news reports for the Surrey Now-Leader.
Read more