Pubdate: Wed, 30 Nov 2016
Source: Telegram, The (CN NF)
Copyright: 2016 The Telegram
Author: James McLeod
Page: A1


City inspectors will visit marijuana dispensary

The Canna Leaf marijuana shop on Water Street will be getting a visit
from city inspectors, because they violated municipal bylaw in setting
up business.

Ward 2 Coun. Jonathan Galgay said that any time a business opens in
St. John's, it needs a change of occupancy permit.

"I made a call to our inspection division, and I have been advised
that no application was made to the city," Galgay said.

"So what I have done now is I have asked for building inspectors to go
into that building and do a full inspection, because they have failed
to follow city bylaws in submitting an application."

On Monday, The Telegram reported that Canna Leaf was selling marijuana
and related products to people with no medical check or prescription
requirement. This is illegal, although there's quite a lot of legal
confusion about it, driven in part by a dysfunctional medical
marijuana system, and the fact that Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has
promised to legalize pot for recreational purposes.

Galgay said that late last week he got a call from a constituent who
was concerned about the CannaLeaf operation. Galgay said at that time,
the police had already been informed about it.

Galgay said that if an official application were made to the city, it
would be a zoning issue.

"Obviously the city would have to step back and determine what kind of
zoning these businesses can operate in" he said.

"You cannot just open a bar anywhere in the city."

And the troubles are piling up for CannaLeaf, because its landlord is
also irked.

Bill Mahoney, who owns the building at 448 Water Street, said when he
rented the place, the tenants told him that it would be strictly a
medicinal dispensary.

"They signed a lease with all the standard clauses and so on, in terms
with complying with regulatory and the law," Mahoney said.

"What do I do? In order for me to evict them, I'd have to prove that
they're breaking the law, or the terms and conditions of the lease.
I'm told I'm better off leaving that to police."

While everybody waits in limbo, Galgay said he'd like to see the city
start working towards some sort of legal framework, so it can be ready
to go when marijuana is legalized.

"I think we do have the expertise at city hall to help us draft these
rules and regulations, and I have no problem in going back to council
and ask us to begin that preliminary work," Galgay said.

Justice Minister Andrew Parsons also weighed in on the issue Tuesday,
saying that as far as CannaLeaf is concerned, it's a matter for police
to deal with, and he's not involved.

As for the coming legalization, Parsons said work is underway with the
provincial government to get ready.

"We're certainly preparing for it. I mean, everyone knows the federal
government commitment to this," he said.

"But it is federally driven, so we have to wait and see where it's
going to go from there, and then we'll adjust and take the steps we
have to."
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