Article by Mike Howell, Vancouver Courier
More than 50 illegal marijuana dispensaries continue to operate in Vancouver despite the city issuing 854 tickets to owners who refuse to close their doors, according to new statistics provided to the Courier this week.
The city has also filed 27 injunctions in court in an effort to shut down some of the 54 premises, which are operating without a business licence. The tickets are worth $250 each and, in some cases, were issued multiple times to a dispensary.
So far, operators have paid 205 tickets.
“We’re not going to go backwards and go back to the Wild West,” said Andreea Toma, the city’s chief licensing inspector, in acknowledging the defiance of pot shop owners who continue to operate without a business licence and refuse to pay tickets.
The city’s new business licence regulations for dispensaries came into effect last year. But the city gave existing pot shop operators until April of this year to close their doors. That deadline only applied to operators whose dispensaries didn’t fall into a permitted zone or were too close to a school or community centre.