June 20, 2018 9:10 pm

Mixed compliance as deadline for some Vernon pot shops to cease sales passes


The deadline for any Vernon marijuana retailers that didn’t register covenants to stop selling cannabis has come and gone but the city is still working to enforce the new rules.

The city gave four marijuana retailers, that didn’t register covenants, until last Friday to stop selling marijuana.

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The municipality is trying to force the city’s large number of marijuana retailers to either register a covenant or stop selling cannabis in order to keep control of the location of pot shops once recreational marijuana becomes legal.

The City of Vernon is concerned that without the covenants the shops can argue their current locations should be grandfathered in and the city wouldn’t be able to control where they are located in Vernon.

Of the four businesses without a covenant which were originally facing a deadline to close, the municipality said one ended up registering a covenant and all the businesses without covenants stopped storefront sales.

READ MORE: Vernon tells four marijuana retailers they must close by end of the week

However, the city said two of the businesses are offering online sales.

“Two online sellers are at various stages of enforcement which would include fines of up to a $1,000 a day,” city spokesperson Nick Nilsen said.

The city said one of the online retailer is MMJ Total Health Care, whose storefront appeared to be closed on Wednesday.

The city said it recently found out the business is still selling online.

“We are currently dealing with some very sick and troubled patients that are terminally ill and [what] is of the most importance right now is to ensure their quality of life is not interrupted. We are transitioning out of this business completely onto bigger and better things, however it doesn’t happen overnight when you’ve been taking care of many sick people for multiple years,” Hasia Glaim of MMJ Total Health Care wrote in a statement.

READ MORE: As other Okanagan cities crack down, Vernon moves to allow existing pot shops

The other business is an online only retailer the city can’t find. An online address for 40 Shades of Green lists the location of the business at the Vernon courthouse.

“We are trying to track them down. They don’t have a storefront so once we do we will issue fines to them,” Nilsen said.

But the city’s approach has its critics. Some argue officials should be more concerned about shops selling to non-medical clients.

“We have that and we also have clubs that don’t even ask for ID so if we are trying to keep it out of the hands of children, those are the clubs that are sketchy,” Russ Stevenson from Herb’s Healing Centre said.

“The medical clubs that are running, most of them run quite well.”

Nilsen said the city is trying “to create a space where retailers can continue to operate during this time of transition” while keeping the municipalities future options open.

With municipalities empowered to regulate things like zoning, building codes and smoking restrictions the shops will likely be the subject to more regulation as we head towards legalization.

© 2018 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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