There is an old expression that says you can’t fight city hall but showing some love could prove to be a better tactic.
This is the thinking behind the “I Heart Dispensaries” campaign organized by MMJ Canada, Cannabis Culture and Pacifico urging Hamilton residents and others to share their positive experiences with medical cannabis dispensaries. They are asking people to write personal testimonials on their website that will then be forwarded to Hamilton city councilors to protest the Ontario city’s ongoing crackdown against cannabis businesses.
The city sent “cease and desist” letters to 17 dispensaries last week that warned of fines up to $50,000, plus up to another $25,000 per day after conviction, even though recreational cannabis is expected to be legalized by the federal government within the year.
“We’d love to show the city all the positivity that surrounds responsible storefront dispensaries,” the group said on their Facebook page. “We hope to feature as many of your stories as possible via our social media (with your permission of course ). It’s going to take a lot of positivity and ingenuity to face the hurdles our industry may have ahead. All of your support is appreciated!”
Like many other Canadian cities, Hamilton dispensaries currently operate in an unregulated grey zone with no governing bylaws.
Complicating matters further in terms of legal precedent, a B.C. Supreme Court judge ruled last week that cities within the province have the right to regulate pot shops through municipal bylaws.