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Medical Pot Shop Fails to Open

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The opening of a medical marijuana dispensary in Deep Cove was blocked Saturday morning by RCMP officers and District of North Vancouver officials.

Re-Leaf Dispensary Society planned to open its doors in a business space on the corner of Deep Cove Road and Mount Seymour Parkway, but the society's management changed their minds after visits from the police and district staff.

"Our uniformed officers went to the location in Deep Cove and advised them of the legal consequences if they attempted to open up a dispensary to sell marijuana," said Cpl. Richard DeJong, spokesman for the North Vancouver RCMP detachment.

"Health Canada does not license organizations to possess, produce or distribute marijuana for medical purposes. So they would have been breaking the law and would have been arrested under the (Controlled Drugs and Substances) Act for trafficking," he said.

DeJong said that while no legal search took place, the officers were satisfied that there was no marijuana on the premises.

David Stuart, the district's chief administrative officer, arrived with bylaw officers waiting in the wings. Stuart said the dispensary society had not obtained a business licence, did not get their interior renovations reviewed by a building inspector, and may also be violating the zoning of their building.

"With respect to issues such as zoning and business licence, if we were unable to resolve these and they opened, we would likely apply to the courts for an injunction and the courts would rule as to which party is correct," Stuart said. "With respect to the building issue, our paramount concern is public safety. We can't have the public entering a building -- and that's their intention -- where work has been done that does not conform to the law. If they open today, the building inspector will close it and issue a sign saying the building is not to be occupied until the appropriate dialogue occurs."

Although the dispensary doors remained locked, a small crowd of local residents, district councillors and marijuana activists gathered out front and began a spirited debate on the issue of medical marijuana and the merits of Re-Leaf.

"The community has really come out and opposed this location, in this neighbourhood for sure. It's been an unfortunate lack of process," Coun. Lisa Muri said. "I have nothing against the use of medical marijuana. Certainly Health Canada does regularize it with licensing and for many people with devastating illnesses or chronic pain, it's a useful drug. I think one of the issues that's come up through this whole thing is when will Health Canada, when will the federal government make a decision about how it's dispensed?"

According to the RCMP, medical marijuana can be legally obtained three ways. Patients can purchase it directly from Health Canada, can obtain a licence to grow their own, or can use their licence to designate another person to grow on their behalf. However, medical marijuana dispensaries do operate illegally in other parts of the Lower Mainland.

"This medical marijuana dispensary shouldn't be allowed to open in the dead of night," said East Seymour resident Wayne Hunter. "It should involve the community in a transparent way. It's all about land use. It's got nothing to do with whether or not we want marijuana in the community -- it's already here. But the location may not be right."

Deep Cove resident Mike Paul disagreed. "I've seen it at the B.C. Compassion Club. It's right across the street from a park, it's in a neighbourhood and there are no problems. Nobody smokes around there -- that's part of the rules. You have to have respect for the neighbourhood. If they don't, by all means shut it down."

The district held a public hearing Tuesday night to debate a bylaw that would specifically prohibit marijuana dispensaries in North Vancouver.

News Hawk- Jacob Ebel 420 MAGAZINE
Source: nsnews.com
Author: Benjamin Alldritt
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Copyright: Postmedia Network Inc.
Website: Medical pot shop fails to open
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