Queensborough's Marijuana Factory vows to sue the city if the city doesn't
stop "making threats."

Marijuana Factory spokesperson Michael Maniotis made the declaration after
receiving a letter from the city. The letter, he says, requests that the
legal marijuana grow operation stop producing because the operators are
putting themselves and others in the neighbourhood in danger.

"They say we don't conform to their standards - they're basically
discriminating against us based on disability," Maniotis told The Record.

On Oct. 21, city council approved recommendations from the city's strategic
services department. They included:

u that city council write to the local member of parliament, the official
opposition and the federal health minister to inform them of the city's
concerns regarding the Marijuana Medical Access Regulations;

u that staff pursue an inspection of the Marijuana Factory's rental
property to determine if the premise complies with city bylaws and
regulations; and

u that the city solicitor be authorized to obtain a court order if the
occupants or owner of the property fail to voluntarily permit staff to
conduct an inspection.

Keith Coueffin of strategic services said a copy of the letter to the
Marijuana Factory could not be forwarded to The Record because it contains
confidential information. He confirmed, however, that the city has
requested it be allowed to inspect the property.

The Marijuana Factory's Maniotis told The Record that he and the licensees
have asked the city to "come into discussion with us, not to threaten us.
We've told them if they continue these practices we won't be willing to
forgive - we will be going to sue them."

Asked if the city is considering any conciliatory action, Coueffin said: "I
don't want to debate what he said they said. Council has directed staff to
inspect the property to determine its compliance with health and safety
bylaws. They've also directed staff to seek a court injunction if the
owners failed to comply with that."

In response to the city's letter, Maniotis and his fellow residents put pen
to paper.

Their letter to strategic services, the mayor and council begins: "It is
with some regret that we must now face each other before a judge to address
our complaint against you and the the New Westminster City Council for
discriminatory practices against Health Canada Licensed Marijuana
Cultivators/Patients, and for the libelous slander of our good reputations
which you all affected in the press and in your special interest group
meetings as well as in your written communications..."

The letter also states that Health Canada informed Maniotis on Oct. 25 that
the city's request to shut down the Marijuana Factory is being ignored by
the federal department.

The letter also states that the city should have been informed by legal
advisors last year that its bylaw prohibiting cannabis production is
unconstitutional.

The letter warns: "If any person, other than a Health Canada inspector,
attempts to seek entrance to this Health Canada federally licensed
marijuana cultivation site, in contradiction to the MMAR's (regulations),
we have been advised to immediately inform the RCMP.

Maniotis told The Record: "You can't block patients' rights, anywhere.
We're under human rights nationally - and we're going to be denied them in
New Westminster? I don't think so."

He warned the city against wasting taxpayers' money on another expensive
lawsuit.

Maniotis said he and the licensees might include Insp. Dave Jones of the
New Westminster police and the Queensborough Ratepayers Association in
their lawsuit, because of comments made at a recent ratepayers meeting.

"They're the ones who made the slanderous comments. We're on the side of
the law and they should wake up and realize it."

Maniotis said if the city has a complaint against the Queensborough
operation, it should send it to Health Canada, who can send an inspector to
B.C.

Asked why the community should rest assured that the Marijuana Factory
meets health and safety standards, he said that with fewer than 100 plants
being grown, "you use more electricity with your hair dryer."

He said his landlord is in agreement with him that the city shouldn't be
inspecting the residence. He adds that people live in the house - and why
would they jeopardize their own health and safety. "Legal or illegal, they
don't want us here, and that's discrimination, plain and simple."

Source: Record, The (CN BC)
Pubdate: November 4, 2002
Website: http://www.royalcityrecord.com/
Address: 418 6th Street New Westminster, B.C., V3L 3B2
Contact: editorial@burnabynow.com