Vancouver says court decision allows it to close illegal pot shops

The city says it filed 53 injunctions against businesses that were operating outside its regulations,

Vancouver says a court decision has reaffirmed the city’s authority to shut down illegal marijuana dispensaries.

In a news release, the city says the B.C. Supreme Court’s decision to order the closing of unlicensed retail shops also sets a precedent if illegal operators fight injunctions requiring them to close in the future.

The city says it filed 53 injunctions against businesses that were operating outside its regulations, but only 28 stores participated in the legal test case after some closed down.

Years before cannabis became legal, illegal marijuana-related businesses grew so the city introduced regulations and fees to control where medical pot dispensaries could operate.

Injunctions were filed on May 31, 2016, against the businesses that didn’t have approval to operate but remained open after missing a deadline to close.

The city says it has collected almost $3 million from more than 3,700 tickets that were issued against businesses operating outside its regulations.

“This (court) decision reaffirms the city’s authority over land use and our municipal business licensing for cannabis retail, and confirms the regulatory regime introduced in 2015 was well within the city’s jurisdiction to establish,” Kaye Krishna, the city’s general manager, development, buildings and licensing, said in the news release.

“It also signals that any cannabis retail store operating outside city regulations can and will be enforced against using all the tools at the city’s disposal to the fullest extent moving forward.”

No recreational pot shops have been approved in Vancouver since the drug became legal on Oct. 17.

The city says since Sept. 19, it has received notification from the province of 14 applications to open recreational marijuana shops. Ten applicants have been told of the next steps they need to follow in the process and the city is reviewing the remaining four applications.

The Canadian Press

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