City of Vancouver hearing begins against 53 unlicensed pot dispensaries

Successful applicants for Sask.’s retail cannabis stores are worried about the continuing operation of illegal outlets once recreational marijuana is legalized. File / Global News

A three-week hearing is underway at BC Supreme Court, where City of Vancouver lawyers are fighting to shut down dozens of unlicensed medical marijuana pot shops.

The city filed the injunctions against 53 businesses in August of last year for bylaw violations

Sacha Kanow owns Karuna Health on West 4th Avenue, which is located within 300 metres of a school.

The city’s existing suite of regulations developed for medical marijuana dispensaries, includes a minimum 300-metre distance from schools, community centres, youth facilities and other cannabis outlets.

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Win or lose, Kanow says he is looking to October’s civic election.

“What could happen is that people that run the city could change, and they may change the rule. They may say 150 metres or 200 metres is more reasonable.”

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Green Cross Society of BC is also named in the city’s case and manager Rohan Gardiner is hoping for the same.

“We would love to see the liquor control board laws coincide with the new regulatory cannabis laws of being 150 metres.”

If the city wins, Kanow says he would accept it and consider future options, Gardiner say he will appeal any decision not in their favour.

The city has issued more than 3,600 tickets, worth more than $2.5 million in fines.

So far, about $182,000 has been paid.


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