British Columbia

Pot stores argue Vancouver condoned illegal sales with licensing program

A lawyer for several medical marijuana dispensaries has urged a B.C. Supreme Court judge to toss out an application to close the shops, saying the federal government failed to include them in its plan to legalize recreational cannabis.

City has applied for court injunction against dispensaries that don't have $30K licences

The City of Vancouver is seeking a court injunction to shut down about 50 medical marijuana dispensaries that remain unlicensed. (Patrick T. Fallon/Bloomberg)

A lawyer for several medical marijuana dispensaries has urged a B.C. Supreme Court judge to toss out an application to close the shops, saying the federal government failed to include them in its plan to legalize recreational cannabis.

John Conroy says the dispensaries have been operating illegally in a kind of "grey zone," and the City of Vancouver has aided and abetted their existence by requiring them to be licensed while it makes a $30,000 profit in each case.

The City of Vancouver is now seeking a court injunction to shut down about 50 medical marijuana dispensaries that remain unlicensed.

Conroy says it's up to the federal government to make provisions for medical marijuana patients to buy their cannabis in a store, just like recreational users will be permitted to do starting next month.

Patients can currently grow a limited amount of marijuana or have someone grow it for them but Conroy says they have a constitutional right to purchase it from a dispensary if a doctor has approved its use.

The Karuna Health Foundation is the lead plaintiff in the case and currently operates one dispensary that is licensed and another that is not.

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