The majority of Victoria’s illegal pot shops have applied for the city’s special new business licence, but more than a dozen not engaged in the process could soon face court-ordered injunctions aimed at shutting them down.
At the same time, the local health authority says a recent anonymous complaint about the cleanliness of one of these dispensaries has led to it outlawing the controversial sale of baked goods and candies in these stores, an issue that a city bylaw created last year purposely did not address.
The situation in British Columbia’s capital, which, like Vancouver before it, has decided to regulate – not raid – its roughly 40 illegal shops, underscores the current confusion surrounding the grey market for a drug that Ottawa has promised to officially legalize.
Ashley Abraham applied to get a regular business licence for her Green Ceiling vapour lounge about a year ago, long before the new dispensary bylaw was passed. Last October, she had her application formally denied.
Since then, the city has handed her seven fines totalling $3,500 for operating outside its new framework.
“I’m working outside the system, but I genuinely wish I could work within it,” she said.
Though she doesn’t sell cannabis at her location, people can buy a range of products at the dispensary next door and come into Green Ceiling to consume them, which is currently illegal.