Vancouver Mayor believes illegal pot shops will 'fade out' after recent court ruling

Dec 17 2018, 11:05 pm

After the BC Supreme Court ordered all illegal cannabis dispensaries in Vancouver to close up shop and cease operations last week, Vancouver Mayor Kennedy Stewart said the ball is now in the court of those store owners.

Stewart made the comments during a recent wide-ranging, year-end interview with Daily Hive.

“The province has said that they will not issue licenses to anybody that has a store open that’s not licensed now,” he said. “So I think any company at this point would say, ‘if we see a future in this, it’s not keeping our store open against the court order or the provincial government that holds licensing possibilities.'”

Stewart recognized that there may be some “stubborn ones,” but imagines those shops in particular will “just fade out,”  and the rest are “playing the game.”

The court ruling was announced late last week, and comes after the city filed 53 injunctions against cannabis-related businesses operating outside city regulations, starting in April 2016 when enforcement action started.

And while the city noted that some of the stores closed prior to the court case, this most recent ruling means that the remaining 28 stores that participated in the test case will now have to cease operations or face court-ordered fines, jail time, or both.

In response to the ruling, the city said it is pleased with the decision.

“This decision reaffirms the city’s authority over land use and our municipal business licensing for cannabis retail, and confirms the regulatory regime introduced in 2015 was well within the city’s jurisdiction to establish,” said Kaye Krishna, General Manager, Development, Buildings and Licensing.

As of October 17, 2018, all cannabis retail stores require a provincial licence to operate in Vancouver, which is regulated and enforced by the BC Liquor and Cannabis Regulation Branch under the Cannabis Control and Licensing Act.

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Eric ZimmerEric Zimmer

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