A new report shows the number of marijuana dispensaries operating in the city has tripled in the past year despite increased bylaw enforcement efforts.
According to the report released Friday, there are 46 marijuana dispensaries operating in Hamilton, compared to 15 in operation last January.
While the federal government is expected to legalize marijuana this summer, marijuana dispensaries are illegal, according to the report — prepared by Ken Leendertse, Hamilton’s director of licensing and bylaw services.
People who are approved for medical marijuana use are supposed to obtain their supply through mail order from a federally-licensed grower.
To date, the city has issued 76 zoning notifications to property owners and business owners related to marijuana dispensaries.
That has led to 27 zoning charges in total, 12 business licensing violation notices, seven bylaw violation notices and four property standards orders.
Aside from the 46 dispensaries still operating, another 12 have been closed and 17 other locations are still under investigation.
Yet the increased attention from the city’s bylaw enforcement division has had limited success in actually closing the dispensaries, which frustrates Stoney Creek councillor Doug Conley.
In September, Conley brought forward a motion to council seeking the help of Hamilton police in the fight against dispensaries.
Conley was particularly upset about a marijuana dispensary operating on King Street East, near The Attic Pizza Parlour, which he says is still in operation.