Vancouver Has Issued $20,000 in Fines to Dispensaries

Updated numbers from the City of Vancouver show almost $20,000 worth of tickets have been issued to dispensaries that are in violation of the city’s regulatory program.

The city said 78 tickets, at a cost of $250 each, have been handed out, with almost 60 of them distributed after the Apr. 29 deadline for unlicensed dispensaries to shut down.

The city said 28 medical dispensaries voluntarily shut their doors by the end of April, but 62 others required to do so are still in operation.

“Currently, 25 stores continue to operate that are not subject to enforcement as they work their way through the process (these include either those in a zone-compliant cluster or in the permit and licensing stage),” the city revealed, in a release.

City staff have so far approved 10 development permits for dispensaries with another 11 under review. Three operations’ business license applications are also under review, but none have been issued.

The Board of Variance still has dozens of appeals to hear from dispensaries denied the chance to proceed in the city’s process due to their vicinity to schools or community centres.

Cannabis Growers of Canada executive director Ian Dawkins said he had issue with the city’s process.

“There are now numerous examples of Vision Vancouver‘s dispensary policy failing outright,” Dawkins said. “These problems are getting more serious as time goes on.”

Dawkins pointed to a recent Board of Variance meeting where the board granted a variance to Sunrise Wellness Kingsway Foundation, after previously denying Cannpassion which shares a building with the approved dispensary.

“The board have shown there is zero consistency in their reasoning,” Dawkins said. “How can you have two dispensaries side by side, and pick the one that is closer to the school?”

“Without some consistency and some leadership from the City, this situation will just continue to get more and more confusing and litigious. The taxpayers of Vancouver are going to be on the hook for a huge legal bill, because their City Council wants to go well beyond their authority and pick winners and losers.”