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North Van cannabis shops set for public hearings

After spending the first year of legalized cannabis as a pot shop desert, the future could be looking a bit more verdant in North Vancouver.

After spending the first year of legalized cannabis as a pot shop desert, the future could be looking a bit more verdant in North Vancouver.

City of North Vancouver council has sent four potential new pot shops to public hearings and the District of North Vancouver has as many as six waiting for a vote.

On Monday, Feb. 24, city council will listen to the public’s input for Lonsdale Cannabis at 1433 Lonsdale Ave., Cannabis Boutique at 1520 Lonsdale Ave., 420 Herb Garden at 142 East Second St. and Quantum 1 Cannabis at 820 Marine Dr.

In 2019, city council rejected four cannabis shop applicants hoping to open stores along Lonsdale and Marine Drive, and approved two – 1st Cannabis, which opened on New Year’s Eve at 223 West First St., and a BC Cannabis Store for Park & Tilford at 333 Brooksbank Ave., but the new bricks-and-mortar store isn’t expected to open until the spring of 2021.

When council rejected three of the potential pot shops on Lonsdale in July 2019, most councillors cited the provincial rule requiring opaque storefronts as being incompatible with their desire for Lonsdale to look and feel like a high street.

That’s not likely going to be a problem for Lonsdale Cannabis, which is proposed for the inside of Lonsdale Court, an enclosed courtyard containing offices and commercial space in between Jack Lonsdale’s pub and the associated liquor store. The application is from the same family that owns Jack Lonsdale’s.

“We are always concerned about Lonsdale being our high street and when the windows have to be blacked out or faded out, this location seems kind of perfect because it’s there, but it’s not really there,” said Coun. Holly Back, casting her vote in favour at the Feb. 10 regular meeting of council.

Coun. Tony Valente signalled that opaque glass may be an issue for the 420 Herb Garden proposal at 1520 Lonsdale, currently home to Anderson’s General Store and a Canada Post outlet. Other council members expressed concern about the lack of on-site parking.

The 420 Herb Garden proposal on East Second may face even tougher scrutiny. It was formerly home to the Lotusland Cannabis Club, an illegal store shut down by the city.

Back said she received many complaints from neighbours about Lotusland customers taking up parking, and she wasn’t comfortable with cannabis being sold so close to North Shore Neighbourhood House and an Alcoholics Anonymous meeting location. She and Mayor Linda Buchanan voted against sending the store to public hearing.

There was little discussion about the Quantum 1 proposal at 820 Marine Dr., which was home to one of the previous illegal Weeds stores. Buchanan voted against advancing that proposal.

The District of North Vancouver council has voted to send its first three cannabis stores to public hearings: Muse Cannabis Store in the Dollarton Plaza at 385 North Dollarton Hwy., Kiaro Cannabis at 1560 Main St., and North Shore Cannabis at 1520 Barrow St.

On Feb. 24, district council will consider three more potential shops: Hobo Cannabis at 1629 Marine Dr., a BC Cannabis store at 1074 Marine Dr. and Budhouse at 1199 Marine Dr.

District of West Vancouver council has banned cannabis retail shops.