Retail marijuana businesses are sprouting across Vancouver. And they're not legal

As a franchise lawyer in Vancouver, you wouldn’t believe the number of calls I get from people who want to establish a chain of franchised retail marijuana outlets.

Retail medical marijuana “dispensaries” seem to sprouting like weeds all over Metro Vancouver, causing Vancouver Sun columnist Daphne Bramham to whimsically write that it’s easier to buy a joint in the city than a loaf of bread. There are almost 90 retail marijuana stores in Vancouver alone, with more cropping up every week. If you’re thinking about owning and operating a retail marijuana business, or leasing commercial space to a retail marijuana business whether in British Columbia or elsewhere in Canada, there are things that you should know.

First and foremost is that the possession and sale of marijuana is contrary to sections 4 and 5 of the Controlled Drug and Substances Act (CDSA). The only exception is so-called “medical...

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