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Vernon’s only medical cannabis shop forced to shut down

Click to play video: 'Vernon cracks down on city’s only medical cannabis dispensary' Vernon cracks down on city’s only medical cannabis dispensary
Vernon cracks down on city’s only medical cannabis dispensary – May 21, 2019

Medical cannabis dispensary owner Russ Stevenson is stressed out because he’s looking at some hefty fines. He’s one of three dispensaries in Vernon who have been ordered to shut down.

“We are a medical store. We are not recreational. We look after after people with prescriptions,” said Stevenson of Herb’s Healing Centre.

READ MORE: 20-year-old B.C. woman acquires cannabis shop licence

Medical or not, Stevenson says he’s been issued a handful of $1,000 fines in recent weeks and was warned he could end up in jail if he doesn’t stop.

“They brought their community enforcement officer in, who has threatened me with $5 million [in fines] and three years in prison,” he said.
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Customer Trent Kulak says losing the city’s only medical dispensary will have a big impact on his family.

“It means I’m going to be losing a lot of medicine for my wife and she’s going to have to go back on her opoid prescriptions,” said Kulak. “That’s going to damage her liver, her heart, literally shorten her life.”

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Meanwhile, Julia Bershley says she doesn’t trust the quality of cannabis at government-run dispensaries.

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“What am I going to do now?” Bershley said. “Stock up as quickly as I can and as much as I can before they shut him down.”

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After Tuesday, Herb’s Healing Centre will be no more. But Stevenson says never say never.

“This is not the end of me. We will be doing more,” Stevenson said. “I still have an application in for a rec licence.

“We are still trying to get the store back to a medical licence when we fix this with the government.”

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