How difficult is it to open a cannabis dispensary in Canada?

In New Westminster, BC Canada, it’s surprisingly hard as noted by Muse Cannabis on their website. In the past, we have talked about

We have a new obstacle for you to consider. If you are in the market for creating a legal dispensary in Canada, we have the details.

The Story

We regularly add new listings to our directory. While doing this, we come across the most interesting aspects. This time the stories of the dispensary coming to the area outranked the dispensary itself in google. This caused us to dig deeper

As posted on the locations section of the muse cannabis website

·  Unfortunately due to circumstances outside Muse’s control, we aren’t able to proceed with our plan to open a store at 532 6th Street in New Westminster. However, we remain committed to serving the community of New Westminster and are currently working on finding another location in the Uptown neighbourhood.
·  We’re grateful to Muse’s staff for their patience and for the patience of the community throughout this process. We’ve received countless emails and questions about our status on 6th street and our potential opening date, and we didn’t want to give up on the location until we tried every possible solution.
·  We’re frustrated and disappointed with this outcome but we’re letting those feelings fuel our search for an even better location for Muse in New Westminster.  
·  We went through the entire process. We had approval from the City of New Westminster and from the LCRB which are normally the biggest hurdles to overcome, but we ran into an unexpected challenge: our landlord’s lender refused to refinance the property if there was a cannabis retailer as a tenant.


The process is as straight forward as you think; however, as described above there is always something else to consider. From our tally, the checklist of concerns you should consider when attempting to open a legal dispensary in Canada include

  • Provincial License
  • Allowance from the local municipality (often by vote)
  • Location zoned correctly and geographically located where dispensaries are allowed
  • Landlord willing and able to allow a dispensary as a tenant

These steps seem fairly simple to us; however, after the multiple articles, we have written on the difficulty it’s becoming obvious that it’s not simple. With that said, considering the losses in the Cannabis industry, do you really think this is a great idea?


Many people have dreams of opening a dispensary. In the new legal environment in Canada, this is realistic. Feds won’t break down your door, cops will be your customers, the bank will accept your payments. However, whatever your reason for wanting a dispensary, the road to opening one isn’t simple. Comment below with your experiences with dispensaries not opening in your area.

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