The City of Vancouver has collected only 14% of illegal pot shop fines

Click to play video: 'Figures show City of Vancouver has collected a small percentage of marijuana dispensary fines' Figures show City of Vancouver has collected a small percentage of marijuana dispensary fines
Mon, Jun 26: Nearly $1 million in penalties handed down for rule breakers but only $140,000 has been collected... the reason, according to councilors, a backlog in courtroom time. Others question whether crackdown is worth the effort. Jill Bennett reports – Jun 26, 2017

The City of Vancouver has fined marijuana dispensaries nearly one million dollars since they started penalizing businesses without a permit.

But not much has been collected.

Vancouver bylaw officers are 10 infractions away from breaking the million dollar barrier since fines came into play a little over a year ago.

READ MORE: Vancouver bylaws close 22 pot shops

The City says it has collected about $140,000, just over 14 per cent of the grand total.

From the beginning of April to last Tuesday, officers handed out just over 400 tickets to pot shops, while only collecting fees from 19 over the same period.

There are approximately 60 dispensaries that could be written up, but about two dozen have been given court injunctions and do not receive tickets.

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Vancouver City Councillors say the reason so few fines have been collected is because of a backlog in courtrooms.

LISTEN:  Vancouver Councillors Kerry Jang and Adriane Carr

Vision Vancouver’s Kerry Jang says many of the injunctions were filed a year ago and have yet to be presented in front of a judge.

“We’ve done everything we can as a city, and it’s up to the courts now to make a decision. But in the meantime, we will continue to collect the evidence to strengthen our case that these shops are knowingly and deliberately breaking city bylaws.”

LISTEN: Dispensary owner Don Briere discusses the city’s bylaws

READ MORE: City of Vancouver seeking injunctions against illegal pot shops

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Green Councillor Adriane Carr says she wants the city to keep pressure on business owners, even if cannabis is legalized by the federal Liberals.

“They know what the rules are, and so I do believe that we should be pursuing those fines. Whether the court or not is not the fault of the city, but we will need to pursue them. We will continue to pursue them until those fines are paid.”

Vancouver city staff have refused to comment.

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