Article by Frances Bula, Globe and Mail
The City of Vancouver has applied for injunctions to stop 53 marijuana dispensaries from operating without a business licence, but no one expects any of them to be shut down any time soon.
That’s because the case won’t be heard until September, 2018, with the lawyers for the dispensaries saying they will be challenging the city under the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.
By then, the federal government will have legalized marijuana, and the provincial government has indicated dispensaries may have a role to play once the product is legally available in British Columbia.
In the meantime, Vancouver, which has been struggling with how to regulate a business that is actually illegal, will move ahead with the injunctions. It has been fining businesses as much as $1,000 a day with limited success, and there are almost six times as many illegal shops operating as licensed ones.
Still, the lawyers for the dispensaries say the case will go ahead, arguing that people who need medical marijuana are not being allowed reasonable access to it.
The city has granted business licenses to just 11 of the more than 100 dispensaries that were in operation two years ago when Vancouver decided to start regulating them, placing what the lawyers say are onerous restrictions on them.