city hall

It’s the Money, Stupid

Vancouver’s city government is regulating dispensaries out of business.

After the Apr. 29 deadline, “those not approved through the City of Vancouver’s new regulations must close their doors immediately, or be subject to enforcement action.”

What kind of enforcement action?

“The City will use a range of enforcement tools, including fines and legal action.”

As this regulation is a municipal bylaw, the fines will be levied by the municipality. As far as “legal action,” the Vancouver Police Department have already stated that the criminal code is not very effective when it comes to shutting down dispensaries.

If a bunch of dispensaries don’t shut their doors immediately, the odds are pretty slim the police will raid them.

The only thing the city can do is issue bylaw fines and begin the legal process.

Unless, of course, the Vancouver Police Department bump up cannabis prohibition on their list of priorities.

Hopefully they don’t. I can’t think of anything more stupid than “Hey, let’s put fentanyl investigations on hold for a bit and target nonviolent cannabis dispensaries.”

But if we assume that Vancouver’s desire to regulate dispensaries is a little more nefarious than just the busybody “public health and safety” propaganda they’ve been throwing at us, then it would make sense not to use the VPD for enforcement.

First off, city hall wanted to make it look like they were doing something. That helps win over voters and those who like to make political donations.

Second, city hall likes taking your money.

They scammed dispensaries out of $30,000, plus a bunch of other fees, and now they’ll be collecting fines because I highly doubt every single dispensary not approved by the city will be closing their doors on Apr. 29.

These businesses were already technically breaking the law. I don’t think a lowly bylaw will do much to counter their actions.

But it will line the city’s pockets.

For, once the approved dispensaries are regulated and operating under the new bylaw, the city can start extracting money from the unapproved dispensaries that stay open.

That’s what was going on with Chilliwak’s WeeMedical dispensary until they were raided.

Daily fines imposed by the city extracted thousands of dollars from the business.

Even at $100 a day, with, let’s say, 100 dispensaries operating outside of Vancouver’s bylaw, that’s $3,650,000 a year going into the city’s coffers.

Vancouver’s bureaucrats would have no incentive to sic the VPD on these dispensaries. Unregulated dispensaries would be a bigger cash-cow than normal taxpaying businesses.

It’s a win-win for the city.

They’ve made it look like they’ve done something for “pubic health and safety” by writing up useless and destructive regulations, and they’ll be pocketing daily fines from dispensaries that refuse to shut down.

Now, I suppose some dispensaries could refuse to pay the fine.

Perhaps that’s where “legal action” will come in, and, once again, it’s good advertising for the city.

Raiding a dispensary here and there, regulating the “good ones,” and receiving daily fines from those that refuse to shut down.

Business is good when you’ve got a monopoly on the use of violence