Pubdate: Fri, 21 Nov 2008
Source: New West News Leader (CN BC)
Copyright: 2008 Black Press
Author: Michael McQuillan
Bookmark: (Paraphernalia)


After moving to a new location and undergoing renovations, a long-time
business finds it's unable to get a business licence from the City of
New Westminster.

The delay in getting the licence is because the store, Sinn and Sativa
Fashions at 655 Front St., sells what the city describes as drug
paraphernalia-rolling papers, pipes and bongs. New Westminster's
business licence bylaw prohibits the sale of drug paraphernalia, but
doesn't specifically state what items that includes.

"When we moved from our other location we started to get into
fashion," said store owner Shea Campbell. "The only reason we still
carry the rolling papers and the pipes is because the regulars expect
us to. It's a very small part of the store."

In its prior location on Columbia Street the store carried a larger
stock of drug paraphernalia, but reduced that inventory significantly
when Sativa moved to its new location, said Campbell.

It's interesting, she said, that city bylaw officers never took issue
with the store when it carried a larger inventory of pipes, bongs and
rolling papers.

"The other store was almost 100 per cent and now we're getting out of

Campbell has hired a lawyer who told her the city's business licence
bylaw's description of drug paraphernalia is too vague.

The New Westminster bylaw categorizes it as merchandise designed, used
or intended for the "use, possession, production, cultivation,
manufacture, import, export, storage, preparation or ingestion of
cannabis or any other controlled substance."

"The lawyer has said the definition is too broad to stand up (in
court)," said Campbell.

As well, there are other stores in the city selling drug paraphernalia
and they are allowed to operate without disruption, she added.

Despite not having a current business licence, Sativa continues to
operate. Bylaw officers have been to the store a number of times and
issued three tickets, totalling $600 in fines.

City licensing manager Keith Coueffin said Sativa's business licence
is still being processed. It has been held up because there was some
inaccurate information on the application and also because staff have
been unable to contact the owner.

"A decision has not been made on the licence," Coueffin said. "We do
have a concern about what we consider drug paraphernalia, which
pursuant to our bylaw cannot be sold.

"We're attempting to contact them. We're looking forward to discussing
these issues with them."
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MAP posted-by: Larry Seguin