The sound of police officer’s fists banging on a Halifax business’ door on Monday afternoon weren’t answered by the occupants inside — even as the flashing open sign hanging in the window of Green Vapour Halifax changed to read “closed.”
As of Monday afternoon, the Oxford Street business is now being investigated by the Halifax Regional Municipality as it attempts to determine whether the illegal sale of cannabis is taking place inside the shop.
“We have opened an investigation into the activities at that address and so the file is open. We’re definitely looking into it to see if they’re in compliance with the occupancy permit we issued,” said Brendan Elliott, a spokesperson with the municipality.
Last fall, renovations of the former Ardmore Grocery & Variety began peaking the interest of some local residents who voiced concerns to the municipality over suspicions that the new business would operate as an illegal marijuana dispensary.
According to Elliott, that information was grounds for the municipality to refuse to issue an occupancy permit, something all businesses need to legally operate.
However, the owner pledged that no cannabis would be sold on the property.
“We got in writing from them, what they planned to sell and there was nothing in there that said they would sell anything other than legal materials,” Elliott said.
Despite displaying the name Green Vapour Halifax and Green Vapour Store in its windows, the outlet appears to be operating under a different name online.
A “cannabis locator application” called Weedmaps indicates that “Hydrostone Bigbud” is operating out of the same Oxford Street location.
Weedmaps outlines a substantial number of cannabis products for purchase at the Oxford Street location.
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However, the Nova Scotia Liquor Corporation is the only organization that’s been granted permission by the province to sell cannabis once federal legalization is passed.
Police and government officials have stated numerous times that marijuana dispensaries are presently illegal and will remain illegal.
Elliott said the goal of the investigation is to determine if illegal activities are taking place and if they are, the aim is to “educate the owners on how to be compliant.”
“If they still continue to operate illegally, then we would issue an order and for every day that they were open that they shouldn’t have been, we can have a fine of a minimum of $100 but ultimately, it would be decided by the courts, how much of a fine they’d have to pay if they’re found guilty,” Elliott said.
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