Nova Scotia

Cole Harbour marijuana dispensary Tasty Budd's loses in appeal process

The Nova Scotia Utility and Review Board has backed the Halifax Regional Municipality in the denial of a business occupancy permit to a registered Cole Harbour company that runs a medical marijuana dispensary.

Cole Harbour marijuana dispensary to appeal again

Tasty Budd's was denied the permit in February and that triggered an appeal by the company's owner. (Paul Palmeter/CBC)

The Nova Scotia Utility and Review Board has backed the Halifax Regional Municipality in the denial of a business occupancy permit to a registered Cole Harbour company that runs a medical marijuana dispensary.

The 28-page report said Tasty Budd's is not legal.

"The board finds that the appellant's business of the sale of medical marijuana, even to patients qualified to buy it, is currently illegal under the applicable federal legislation," the decision read.

A permit for Tasty Budd's was denied in February and that triggered an appeal by the company's owner. 

Business will appeal again

Tasty Budd's owner says he respects the UARB's decision, but says it was the wrong decision. (Paul Palmeter/CBC)

The latest decision means they will appeal again.

"We respect the decision they've made but at the same time I think they've made the wrong one," said Mal McMeekin, Tasty Budd's owner.

"We plan to go ahead with the appeal process to the Nova Scotia courts and hopefully they will see things our way."

Part of the federal Liberal party's election platform last year was to move forward with the legalization of marijuana.

In April, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's government took a major step in that direction.

"We will introduce legislation in spring 2017 that ensures we keep marijuana out of the hands of children and profits out of the hands of criminals," said federal Health Minister Jane Philpott at a special assembly at the United Nations.

Almost 2,000 clients

McMeekin said Halifax needs to change its philosophy and get ready for what the government in Ottawa will eventually be sending down the pipe.

Since opening in February, McMeekin said the three Halifax area Tasty Budd's have taken on almost 2,000 clients.

"Every single person we deal with has a medical license from a doctor and we verify that licence to make sure they are a medical patient," said McMeekin.

Marijuana businesses hope for legalization

Tasty Budd's isn't alone in trying to capitalize on a cash crop that will, at some point, become legal.

McMeekin said two other shops that sell medical marijuana, one on Quinpool Road in Halifax and another on Wyse Road in Dartmouth, have recently opened for business.

He said that's happening because the federal government is getting close to fulfilling its election promise.

"They promised legalization and we are here to help the people who need the medical product," said McMeekin. "The government has said they should have direct access to it."

A spokesperson for the Halifax Regional Municipality said they are considering options for next steps on the file with their legal department.

About the Author

Paul Palmeter is an award-winning video journalist born and raised in the Annapolis Valley. He has covered news and sports stories across the province for 30 years.