Surrey Cannabis Policy Framework a Positive First Step, Needs Attention to Support Local Cannabis Retailers

At the April 8 Surrey Council meeting, a cannabis framework was approved – a decision the Surrey Board of Trade applauds as a positive first step. Local cannabis retailers need to be supported, an element that seemed to be missing in this framework.

“We are pleased to see the progress towards creating cannabis retail options in Surrey,” said Anita Huberman, President & CEO, Surrey Board of Trade. “We have an interest in the development and success of our local business community. However, upon reviewing the proposed framework, we couldn’t help but notice the absence of additional points or considerations specifically allocated to Surrey-based businesses.”

“We recognize the importance of supporting local businesses and involving community members in economic initiatives like this. It’s essential that we understand the rationale behind the removal of these points and ensure that the request for expressions of interest (RFEOI) documents include local cannabis retailers.”

Supporting local businesses not only fosters economic growth but also strengthens the fabric of our community in several ways:

Investment in the Community: Local businesses are deeply invested in the well-being and prosperity of Surrey, contributing to the local economy by creating job opportunities, paying taxes, and supporting various community initiatives and events.

Fostering Community Engagement: Local business owners understand the unique needs and values of our community. Local businesses often have a more intimate understanding of local preferences and can tailor their offerings to better serve our residents.

Preservation of Surrey’s Character: Supporting local businesses helps maintain the distinct character and charm of Surrey. By promoting locally-owned establishments, we preserve our community’s identity and cultural heritage, making Surrey a more vibrant and desirable place to live, work, and visit.

Sustainable and Resilient Growth: When residents choose to support local businesses, the economic benefits circulate within the community, creating a positive ripple effect. This sustainable growth leads to increased prosperity for all residents and helps build a resilient local economy. Surrey Official Community Plan – Vision Surrey 2041 places heavy emphasis on creating a sustainable and resilient way. What better way to do it than supporting local businesses.

Cannabis retail in Canada is going through a consolidation phase where small and independent cannabis players are competing with national players with larger resources and scale. That is why we are hearing about cannabis retail store closures every other day. It is time Surrey recognizes the benefits of supporting local businesses and the challenges in cannabis retail and demonstrates to the rest of Canada by establishing a sustainable cannabis retail framework that benefits the community rather than the other way around.

The Surrey Board of Trade will continue to advocate for the policy framework to support Surrey-based retail cannabis businesses. By doing so, we can ensure that local entrepreneurs have a fair opportunity to thrive and contribute to the prosperity of our city. Retailers chosen must still meet high standards across all criteria outlined in the framework to ensure final selection.

The Surrey Board of Trade also suggests that the City of Surrey provide a map of areas where cannabis operations can occur as the plan currently lists zoning codes. If a map were available, it would be easier for the potential retailers to determine their location.

Council deliberated having a few applications presented to Mayor and Council to be approved, however, the Surrey Board of Trade suggests that business licenses be administered operationally if they satisfy the framework guidelines, which are consistent across the province.

The RFEOI process, set to open in Q2 of 2024, will provide an opportunity for interested parties to submit proposals for up to two retail outlets per Surrey community, including Whalley/City Centre, Guildford, Fleetwood, Newton, South Surrey, and Cloverdale. However, locations must adhere to specific locational criteria, including zoning regulations and minimum distance requirements from sensitive areas such as schools, community centers, and existing cannabis retail or production sites.

The Surrey Board of Trade remains committed to supporting initiatives that promote responsible economic growth and enhance the overall quality of life for Surrey residents.

Read the full corporate report here:


Anita Huberman, 604-634-0342,