The West Kelowna Black Crow Herbals marijuana dispensary. - Image: West Kelowna

West Kelowna pot shops back in court

West Kelowna fines dispensaries $1,000 per day for remaining open after shut down order

Three of the cannabis dispensaries in West Kelowna that defied the city’s order to shut down last fall because they were operating illegally were back in provincial court in Kelowna Monday to have dates set for their next court appearances.

The Okanagan Cannabis Solutions Society, the Cannabis For Cancer and Pain Society and the Black Crow Herbals Association are all facing multiple bylaw violation charges after they refused to close in November when West Kelowna ordered them, and three other dispensaries, to close.

The city imposed $1,000 per day fines on them for each day they remained open past the shutdown deadline. They were to appear in court Thursday facing 39 bylaw violations each. On Monday, lawyers for the dispensaries met with a judicial case manager at the court house. However, no dates were set according to the court registry.

Last year, West Kelowna council voted to strip two dispensaries—Black Crow and the Healing Club— of their business licences, citing the fact the dispensaries were operating illegally despite appeals from their respective lawyers. Second appeals last week were also rejected.

While the federal government has said it plans to legalize recreational marijuana as of this July, currently, it is still illegal to sell the drug from storefront locations. Only federally-licenced medical marijuana is allowed to be sold legally in Canada.

It is still unclear, how the retail sale of marijuana will be handled in B.C. once the drug is legalized by Ottawa. That despite the province announcing it will oversee the distribution and sale of the marijuana once it becomes legal.

That has both the police and municipalities concerned. Both have said in the past that without the information they need concerning how retail sales will be dealt with, they are not ready for marijuana legalization.

When the licences were revoked last year, the city said the other dispensaries they planned to shut down were operating as non-profit groups and did not have business licences to take away.

Meanwhile, Kelowna is also trying to shut down dispensaries by having the courts order those operating in the city to do so.

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