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BC Appeal Court decision orders nine illegal marijuana dispensaries to shut down in Vancouver

May 31 2019 –

The City of Vancouver is pleased with the BC Court of Appeal decision today denying a stay of Mr. Justice Hinkson’s order that all illegal marijuana dispensaries named in the suit to shut down.

This decision means that the illegal marijuana dispensaries named in the suit must close pending the outcome of their appeal of the BC Supreme Court decision from December 13, 2018.

The nine stores are:

  • Canna Clinic, 2347 E Hastings St
  • Green Cross Society Of BC, 2145 Kingsway
  • Karuna Health Foundation & Metta Lounge, 3636 W 4th Ave
  • Lotusland Cannabis Club, 3474 W Broadway
  • The Medicinal Cannabis Dispensary, 880 E Hastings St
  • WEEDS, 1807 Burrard St
  • WEEDS, 2580 Kingsway
  • WEEDS, 6657 Main St
  • WEEDS, 1108 Richards St

 An earlier version incorrectly stated the address of Weeds at 1808 Burrard St. The correct address is 1807 Burrard St.

In total, the City filed 53 injunctions against marijuana-related businesses operating outside City regulations in April 2016 when enforcement action started. Some of those operators closed before a decision was rendered by the Court in December 2018.

The City expects that the nine stores that participated in the test case and remain open will obey the Court’s order and close immediately. If they do not comply with the order the City will seek to have them found in contempt of court.

The Province’s Community Safety Unit, which is responsible for compliance and enforcement of the Cannabis Control and Licensing Act, is now active in Vancouver. 

Cannabis legalisation update 

The City of Vancouver has issued six cannabis retail licences to the following businesses: 

  • City Cannabis Co., 610 Robson St
  • City Cannabis Co., 7289 Fraser St
  • Evergreen Cannabis, 2868 West 4th Ave
  • Hobo, 8425 Granville St
  • Hobo, 4296 Main St
  • Muse Cannabis Store, 3039 Granville St

Receipt of a municipal business licence is the final step for cannabis retail outlets to legally operate a cannabis retail store in Vancouver. Cannabis retail outlets must also hold a municipal development permit and a provincial cannabis retail licence.

The City continues to review applications received from the Province for recommendation of a provincial cannabis licence, and is doing everything possible to coordinate with the Province and the operators to complete these steps quickly. 

To date, the City has received 39 notifications from the Province for Vancouver applications. Twenty-six applicants have completed the public notification requirement and have been recommended to the Province for approval.

Enforcement as of May 31, 2019 

  • In 2016-2017, the City filed injunctions against 53 operators, the majority of which agreed to a test case, which commenced in September 2018 in BC Supreme Court.
  • On December 13, 2018, the BC Supreme Court sided with the City and ordered the illegal marijuana dispensaries participating in the suit to shut down. 
  • Many of the 53 locations have closed. Only nine remain open.
  • The City has identified 11 additional retail shops, which were not part of the test case, operating without a valid development permit and has either filed or is preparing to take legal action at these locations.
  • Any location operating without City land use approval is subject to enforcement by both the Province and the City – the Provincial Community Safety Unit, tasked with enforcing illegal cannabis retail sales, is now active in Vancouver.

Learn more about cannabis retail stores