Kelowna asking court to shut down pot shops

City seeking injunction to stop five marijuana dispensaries from operating

The City of Kelowna is going to court to shut down five of the eight marijuana dispensaries operating in the city.

Corporate and protective services director Rob Mayne said Tuesday the move to seek a court injunction to shut down the illegal operations was made after letters telling the businesses to stop and bylaw tickets issued, were ignored.

“We felt a court injunction would be the quickest way to achieve compliance,” said Mayne Tuesday.

The dispensaries included in the legal action are Ross’s Gold, Weeds, TLC Herbal Meds, Trichrome Valley RX and Starbuds, said Mayne.

An investigation is continuing into three other dispensaries operating in Kelowna and they could also be the subject of a court injunction application in the future, he added.

Municipalities in the Okanagan have cracked down on dispensaries in recent months, with West Kelowna pulling the business licences of two operations in that city and sending letters out to three others that don’t have business licences—to cease operations. When that failed, the city started fining the businesses $1,000 a day.

Black Crow Herbals in West Kelowna was one of the dispensaries to lose its business licence and a director of the company in Vernon said the West Kelowna operation would not be closed down.

Recreational marijuana is slated to be legalized in Canada by the federal government on July 1, 2018, but so far, the retail model for selling the drug in B.C. has not been announced by the province.

While West Kelowna would like to see it handled by the province through provincial stores, Kelowna wants to see a private dispensaries handle retail sales but only if municipalities have control over where the stores operate and a number of other operational issues.

Both Kelowna and West Kelowna say they felt they had to act to shut down the existing dispensaries because as the current law stands, they are operating illegally.

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