The City of Port Alberni has approved Wee Medical’s business licence, making it the first medical marijuana dispensary to receive municipal approval in the Alberni Valley.
According to city planner Scott Smith, the dispensary was approved on a ‘first applied, first served’ basis.
Wee Medical was the first marijauna dispensary to open its doors in Port Alberni at the end of October 2015.
Operator Justin Liu, who operates a dispensary by the same name in Nanaimo, opened his shop in Uptown without any approvals from the city.
Liu’s move catapulted the city into months of debate on whether or not to regulate marijuana dispensaries. It even scored his landlord a less-than-friendly call from the mayor.
Ultimately, city council voted 5-2 to regulate dispensaries based upon regulations similar to Vancouver’s. Mayor Mike Ruttan and Coun. Denis Sauve remained staunchly opposed to regulation throughout the entire debate.
Key regulations approved by council included glass storefronts in commercially zoned areas, a 300 metre distance from schools and a 1,000 metre distance from other dispensaries.
With Wee Medical’s licensing, no other dispensaries can open or operate within 1,000 metres of 3034 Third Ave., where Wee Medical is located.
There are at least three other dispensaries that have opened in the Uptown area since Wee Medical; Smith said notices have been served to those now violating the regulation.