B.C. Supreme Court rules municipalities can regulate pot dispensaries

A B.C. Supreme court judge has ruled that municipalities have the right to regulate marijuana dispensaries and cities have the right to deny them business licences and implement bylaws banning the sale of pot.

Case centred on Mary Jane’s Glass and Gifts in Abbotsford which challenged city order to shutter it

Don Briere's Mary Jane’s Glass and Gifts pot shop in Abbotsford suffered a setback in B.C. Supreme Court this week. (Darryl Dyck/The Canadian Press)

A B.C. Supreme court judge ruled Tuesday that municipalities have the right to regulate marijuana dispensaries and cities have the right to deny them business licences and implement bylaws banning the sale of pot.

The case centred on Mary Jane's Glass and Gifts in Abbotsford, one of the many dispensaries operated by Don Briere.

The City of Abbotsford moved to shut it down, but Briere's lawyer tried to challenge that, arguing the city was violating the Constitution by restricting access to medical marijuana.

He also argued the city was stepping out of its jurisdiction because pot is a substance controlled by the federal government.

The judge found that even though pot is regulated federally, it doesn't mean a lower authority can't regulate it.

In addition, she found federal laws don't guarantee access to medical marijuana through dispensaries.

The decision comes amid confusion over who regulates dispensaries.

Cities like Vancouver have moved to license a small number of pot shops but others have moved to shut them down.

For instance, in Langford two people were arrested following a Wednesday raid at a pot shop that had already been shuttered once.

Green Tree Medical Dispensary is facing a civil suit from the city compelling it to permanently cease operations.

With files from Farrah Merali