First medical marijuana dispensary of planned franchise opens in Cole Harbour

Click to play video: 'Tasty Buds opens in Cole Harbour, despite laws' Tasty Buds opens in Cole Harbour, despite laws
WATCH ABOVE: A dispensary for people who have medical marijuana prescriptions has opened in Cole Harbour. The Halifax Regional Municipality can’t issue permits for something that isn’t legal yet and the RCMP still enforces laws, but the owner says it’s worth the risk. Steve Silva reports. – Feb 1, 2016

The owner of a new medical marijuana dispensary that opened in Cole Harbour, N.S., said Monday his business is worth the risk.

“If they do shut us down, then, you know, we’re willing to come back in the next day and reopen, and we’re here to fight the fight for the medical patient,” said Mal McMeekin, owner of Tasty Budd’s.

Before a customer can buy a product, a doctor’s note needs to be provided. Employees then call the doctor’s office to ensure authenticity.

“We’re an incorporated business. We are paying tax, but it still is in the grey area,” said McMeekin about the legality of the business.

According to Health Canada, operations like his aren’t allowed, though that hasn’t stopped a proliferation of similar stores in Canada.

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The store is located approximately one kilometre from the RCMP’s Cole Harbour detachment.

In an emailed statement to Global News, the RCMP said if they “determine that there is a violation of the legislation we would take appropriate action.”

Along with regular cannabis, there are cannabis-infused products, including desserts, lollipops, and butter, available at the store.

“We would not issue a valid permit for the operation of such a business,” said Tiffany Chase, a senior communications advisor for the Halifax Regional Municipality. “Should it become legal in the future, we would consider that to be a retail use and, therefore, you’d have to be in a zone within the city that allowed for that type of use, such as a commercial zone.”

Staff members of several nearby businesses all said they don’t mind the presence of Tasty Budd’s.

McMeekin said the store is the first of a planned franchise.

“There’s a need for this right now. We’re just filling the void that’s there,” he said.

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