Judge Gives Abbotsford Dispensary Three Days to Close Shop

An Abbotsford dispensary has been given three days to close after a B.C. Supreme Court Judge ruled it had violated city bylaws.

Justice Paul Walker said Don Briere’s Weeds Glass & Gifts failed to obtain a business licence from the city and has issued authorities an injunction to shut down the store if Briere refuses to comply.

Walker told Briere that his arguments against the injunction would be held in a different light if the process of cannabis legalization was complete, instead of ongoing.

“The difficulty is that although there are considerations amongst Parliament now about legalized marijuana, it’s not legal and there’s no mechanism – if it is legalized – for the dispensing of marijuana,” Walker said.

Briere said he plans to appeal the decision and remain open in the town for as long as possible.

“Unlike the City of Vancouver, Abbotsford has chosen to go adversarial,” Briere said. “Our argument is that cannabis is legal because the laws enforcing it are illegal.”

“We’re just going to keep fighting it because we’re in the right, they’re in the wrong – there’s no ifs, ands or buts about it.”

In an issued statement, Abbotsford Mayor Henry Braun said he expected Briere to obey the ruling and shut down within the week.

“This business was operating without a valid business licence and we are pleased that the judge has seen fit to uphold our bylaws,” Braun said.

Braun said he has no problem with medical cannabis, his issue is with businesses operating outside the purview of city hall.

“This business is operating illegally and is not part of Health Canada’s regime for people to have access to medical marijuana, so in fact they’re buying marijuana from illegal sources, that’s an issue for us, ” Braun said. “If you don’t like the laws, there’s a process to amend those and in our case it would be to appear before council to convince us why we should change something.”

Briere said he’s tried to work with the city, but they were unwilling.

“The city doesn’t have a licence category, we’ve tried, we actually have three cheques that they sent back to us, refunding us their money because they didn’t have a category and they didn’t want to work with us on it,” Briere said.

Walker also told Briere he is required to pay the city’s legal fees, estimated at over $4,000.