As many as three-quarters of Vancouver’s illegal cannabis dispensaries have been ordered to close by Friday, though it’s a deadline many are expected to ignore, setting off a process of fines and potential court actions that could take months to resolve.
When the country’s first set of rules targeting pot shops takes effect, the city is opting to ticket – not raid – dispensaries that have been rejected in a continuing process to hand out a small number of coveted business licences. Those tickets could start a drawn-out battle that could last until after the federal government introduces legislation to legalize recreational marijuana next year.
More than 100 illegal cannabis dispensaries opened throughout Vancouver in recent years, prompting the city to introduce rules designed to simultaneously regulate the storefronts while also curbing their numbers. One rule said that dispensaries must be located at least 300 metres from other stores, schools or community centres.