The City of Vancouver has issued 44 tickets to local medical marijuana dispensaries under new bylaws requiring them to get a business licence to stay open.
According to a release by the city on Monday, some 22 pot shops have already been shut down, after having been given a grace period of six months.
Any that are ticketed face daily fines of $250 until they close – or possible legal action.
“Staff will continue with enforcement this week, as well as focusing on compiling the necessary information in order to take appropriate legal action on locations that continue to operate outside of City regulations,” said the release.
Under new city rules, all dispensaries must be in commercial zones, at least 300 metres from schools, community centres, neighbourhood houses and other approved pot shops.
Once they passed that stage, they then had to apply for a development permit, followed by a business licence at a cost of $30,000 for retail stores or $1000 for compassion clubs.
But as it stood on deadline day last Friday, more than half the pot shops in Vancouver had failed to meet the new regulations and would be forced to close.
What’s more, only seven pot shops have got to the stage of applying for a business permit – and none have paid the $30,000 fee yet.
That could impact enforcement of the new bylaws, since the City has not set aside any funding source for legal action they may need to take against Vancouver’s pot shops.