One of the medical marijuana dispensaries being sued by the City of Kelowna is taking their plight to the people.
Trichome Valley Rx in Kelowna has launched an online petition they hope will show that the public supports the work they do, and that means they should be allowed to keep their doors open until the inevitable legalization of pot.
In the petition, spokesperson Rob Lindsay says the dispensaries are a medical service that many locals rely on as part of their cancer treatment program and the city’s legal action flies in the face of a Supreme Court ruling that advocates the accessibility to medical cannabis.
“It also is a significant waste of community resources considering that cannabis is slated for legalization on July 1, 2018,” he said.
Although there’s no way to tell if the petition will have any impact on what happens with the courts, Lindsay said it has had a salutary effect among those who work at the dispensary.
“People are coming in and voicing support, and telling us our community needs this service. It’s been kind of uplifting to get that message from the community,” said Lindsay.
The petition, he said, was put together as quickly as the news they were being hit by a lawsuit.
“We weren’t expecting the city to do that — we were gobsmacked,” he said. “We knew what was happening in West Kelowna, but we hoped that West Kelowna was more forward thinking … it turned out not to be the case and they’re putting up roadblocks to accessing safe cannabis.”
It’s a human rights violation, he said, and the business intends to fight it.
“It’s not our intention to close down,” he said. “Our business is to provide safe clinical marijuana to those who need it. We’re moving ahead business as usual.”
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.
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.
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.
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.
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