Pubdate: Fri, 11 Nov 2016
Source: Tri-City News (Port Coquitlam, CN BC)
Copyright: 2016 Tri-City News
Contact: http://drugsense.org/url/3X3xlf9Y
Website: http://www.tricitynews.com/
Details: http://www.mapinc.org/media/1239
Author: Janis Cleugh
Page: A1

OFFICIALS ARE KEEPING EYE ON POT SHOP

Cannabis Culture store located in a PoCo strip mall

A pot shop franchise with ties to Canada's most famous marijuana
activist is open on the edge of downtown Port Coquitlam.

And the spokesperson for Cannabis Culture said the company plans to
push further into the suburbs given its success in PoCo.

Yesterday (Thursday), Jodie Emery - wife of the so-called "Prince of
Pot" crusader Marc Emery, leader of the BC Marijuana Party - told The
Tri-City News the company wants to expand into other Lower Mainland
municipalities so people don't have to drive into Vancouver to buy
marijuana.

"We thought it would be more convenient and helpful to create jobs and
economic growth in the community of Port Coquitlam," she said. "We
want the money to stay in the community in which we serve."

Emery said Cannabis Culture sells to adults aged 19 and over with
proper identification - not just medical patients with a doctor's note.

"We are not trying to be freewheeling and sell to anybody and
everybody. We are trying to set up a very serious model based on the
Amsterdam model."

The PoCo franchise, which started two months ago in a strip mall at
Shaughnessy Street and Lions Way, is currently under investigation,
Coquitlam RCMP Const. Jamie Phillipson said.

(In March, police executed a search warrant on the Tri-City Compassion
Club, which ran its operation out of the same space. At the time,
police said it was "in contravention of the Controlled Drugs and
Substances Act by allegedly selling marijuana outside the parameters
set by Health Canada.")

On Wednesday, city staff ticketed the person in charge of leasing the
unit for failing to have a business licence.

PoCo's bylaw services manager, Dan Scoones, said the operator
submitted a licence form with a declared use as a "counselling
centre." But because "it was obvious they were doing more than that,
we asked them for clarification. They have not responded to the two
requests."

Now, the operator faces a fine of $150 a day while the doors stay
open.

Scoones said the city will follow due process by allowing the required
14 days to pass to give the dispensary time to dispute. He said
council is aware of the business and can order civil action to close
it down.

Scoones said he has spoken with the property owner, who noted a
condition of the lease is that no illegal trading was to happen on
site.

But Jodie Emery contends while there is concern the PoCo location may
soon be shut down by law enforcement, Cannabis Culture is doing good.

And she cited the U.S. election this week, when voters California,
Nevada and Massachusetts voted to legalize recreational pot use in
those states.

"Clearly, the market shows that supply and demand is working when it
comes to marijuana and dispensaries are popular," she said, adding,
"It's like a fresh-pressed juice [store] or a yoga studio: A lot of
businesses open because the clientele demands it and supports it -
just like PoCo residents and residents across Canada demand it and
want access to it."

She added, "We feel it's better that they can come into a storefront
rather than meeting a stranger on the street."

Emery said the PoCo franchise - which, according to its website, sells
various strains of bud from B.C. and California - is owned by a
private investor who also has Cannabis Cultural franchises on Beatty
Street in Vancouver and four shops in Toronto (the fifth is owned by
Marc Emery).

She said its franchises yield between $2,000 and $20,000 a day,
depending on the site. Because the PoCo location hasn't been promoted
and doesn't carry much stock, its profit "is definitely in the low
range."

As for security, Emery said at least two employees are on hand at all
times and there are cameras. She said she also visited the location
before it opened to consult with neighbours and shoppers - all of whom
she said were in favour. (While the business is not near schools or
single-family homes, it backs onto Lions Park, which has a large
playground and skateboard park.)

Emery said Cannabis Culture wants to be a good corporate citizen.
Currently, it is holding a fundraiser for veterans in the lead-up to
Remembrance Day. And she said she is reaching out to Mayor Greg Moore
to talk about the business (she said city staff twice rejected her
request).

"There's no harm done on our part so we would hope we would be allowed
to operate peacefully¬Ö We're not in PoCo to cause harm."
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MAP posted-by: Matt