British Columbia

Abbotsford seeks to banish marijuana magnate Donald Briere

The City of Abbotsford is stepping up its battle with the so-called 'Tim Hortons of pot' by taking Don Briere to court in a bid to shut his remaining marijuana dispensary.

Supreme Court petition seeks order forcing so-called Tim Hortons of pot to shut remaining business

The city of Abbotsford is back in B.C. Supreme Court in a bid to prevent pot magnate Don Briere from operating a marijuana dispensary within city limits. (Darryl Dyck/The Canadian Press)

The City of Abbotsford is stepping up its battle with the so-called Tim Hortons of pot.

Two months after obtaining its first injunction against one of Don Briere's marijuana dispensaries, Abbotsford has now filed a petition seeking to keep the pot-trepreneur out of the community entirely.

According to documents filed in B.C. Supreme Court Tuesday, Abbotsford wants an order to close Mary Jane's Glass and Gifts Ltd. on South Fraser Way.

But the city is also seeking an order "prohibiting Donald Joseph Briere from operating an unlawful marijuana dispensary in the City of Abbotsford either personally or through any corporation or society of which he is a director, officer, shareholder or member."

Empire built on cannabis

Briere operates an empire of more than a dozen Weeds and Mary Jane marijuana dispensaries in B.C. and Ontario, with the bulk of his businesses located in Vancouver.

Abbotsford Mayor Henry Braun has vowed to keep dispensaries out of his community because he says they are prohibited by federal law. In January, the city obtained an injunction against one of the Weeds locations.

Abbotsford Mayor Henry Braun has vowed to keep marijuana dispensaries out of his community. (CBC)

Reached by telephone, Briere said he closed that business, which left him with two Mary Jane outlets. But he says the operator of one of the businesses shut his doors in the face of mounting fines.

Briere said he's been racking up daily fines at the remaining location, which is now the subject of the Supreme Court petition.

He said the mayor is out of step with a recent federal court ruling which recognizes the right of medical marijuana patients to access pot of their choosing.

"I don't care if you believe the earth is flat, but don't fine me 800 dollars a day because you believe the earth is flat," he said. 

"A lot of people are really miffed with the mayor, and they don't understand why he's doing this."

Issuance of licence prohibited

According to the latest petition, the city argues that Briere's remaining dispensary is prohibited from operating without a business licence.

"As the retail sale of marijuana is not lawful, Mary Jane does not have, and cannot obtain, the requisite approval from the federal government for the dispensary," the document reads.

"Issuance of a business licence is thereby prohibited."

The city is also seeking special costs against Briere.

In contrast, the City of Vancouver has decided to issue business licences to pot dispensaries in an attempt to regulate them.

Briere called the legal challenges a waste of taxpayer money.


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