Originally posted on Dana Larsen’s Facebook page.
I am sad to announce that we are temporarily closing our dispensary location at 880 East Hastings tomorrow morning (June 5) at 11 am.
We are closing and ceasing cannabis sales from this location to comply with the recent court order and decision from the BC Court of Appeal. The city is aggressively seeking our closure. We still have court actions and appeals in progress, and we hope to legally re-open our dispensary here again at some point in the near future.
Our dispensary at 1182 Thurlow St and Davie in the West End remains legally open with a development permit, and continues to provide affordable access to the same medicinal-grade cannabis while we are in the process of applying for provincial municipal permits there.
I had pledged to keep our dispensary open as long as we could, and I had considered continuing to operate with just me working the front desk and taking any legal risks upon myself. But after long conversations with our legal counsel Jack Lloyd, we have decided that the best way for us to continue serving our members is to close the 880 East Hastings location for now.
Our dispensary at 880 East Hastings opened in October 2008, so we have been serving our community for over 10 years. We were the third dispensary to open in the city, we have strong local support, and we helped set the template for the dispensary movement across Canada.
We are located in the Downtown Eastside, an area of town which I believe needs more access to quality cannabis, not less. While city council is about to vote on changing bylaws which restrict cannabis access in this area, they are also forcing us to close our dispensary which has been serving this vulnerable community for a decade. We have long been a major supplier of free cannabis to the High Hopes Foundation and the Cannabis Substitution Project, but this shutdown will make it hard for us to continue offering free and discount cannabis in this manner.
We are opening our dispensary early tomorrow, June 5, from 8am to 11am for our final sales and to give our current clients a chance to stock up before we close.
We will be closing at 11am to clear the shelves, and then re-opening our doors at noon without any cannabis for sale. We will be acting as an information and harm reduction centre, directing clients to our Thurlow location and mail order, and encouraging them to contact city hall in support of fair dispensary bylaws. I am likely going to move my new drug-checking service into this location in the future as well.
Our Hastings dispensary will be open for sales from 8am to 11am tomorrow. We also invite our supporters to join us June 5 for a rally outside our dispensary from 10 am to noon, to celebrate our ten years of success, to protest the city forcing us to close, and to show support for fair cannabis access in Vancouver.