Pubdate: Fri, 27 Jan 2017
Source: Chilliwack Progress (CN BC)
Copyright: 2017 The Chilliwack Progress
Author: Jennifer Feinberg


WeeMedical Wellness reps were given one last chance to make their case
to city council before it voted unanimously Tuesday to revoke their
business licence.

Weemedical lawyer Mitch Foster said allegations by an anonymous source
that marijuana was being "sold" from the storefront location on Fifth
Avenue in Chilliwack were false.

It was being stored on-site, he acknowledged, but no cannabis was
sold, according to instructions given to Foster from WeeMedical
Wellness rep May Joan Liu.

The written complaint by "a concerned citizen" received by the mayor's
office on Nov. 23, was the catalyst for the police raid and bylaw
staff inspection of Dec. 7, leading ultimately to the RCMP seizure of
packaged pot, hash and edibles.

The note said although the dispensary had been raided last year, the
"same products" were being sold again under the counter from the
storefront location in downtown Chilliwack.

"Hearsay evidence is admissible at a hearing like this, but it must be
properly weighed," Foster said.

The business licence for WeeMedical Wellness was approved last June,
with one very specific condition: that it was not authorized to sell
"cannabis or cannabis derivatives" from the location on Fifth Avenue.

The business licence only authorized the retail sale of gluten-free
organic and vegan foods, and accessories related to medical cannabis.

But more than 51 oz of marijuana, 6.95 oz of hash and some cannabis
infused products were seized by the Mounties in December, with bylaw
enforcement staff.

The "key thing" he told council was that Weemedical was selling
marijuana in Sechelt, and doing it legally by the laws of Port Alberni.

He handed out copies of business licences from other communities, and
a cheque cashed by a municipality for a business licence application
almost in place elsewhere in B.C.

"These locations have to obtain supplies and they have to get those
supplies from somewhere. That is why there was marijuana in this back
room," Foster told council.

The packaged product seized last month from a display cabinet in the
back room was actually headed for other communities where WeeMedical
was operating, he asserted.

"It is specifically denied that any marijuana was being sold. Staff
could package in the back room, but they were under direct orders not
to sell anything," Foster said.

He said there was no credible evidence, only the "vaguest of vague
allegations" about any sales.

Council took a moment after the presentation to discuss the matter
with City of Chilliwack's legal counsel.

The latest staff report includes this substantiation for revoking the
licence: "Given the sale of medical marijuana is not permitted at this
location and is in contravention of the Controlled Drugs and
Substances Act as well as the City's Zoning and Business Licence
Bylaws, it is recommended the business licence be cancelled."

When council came back into chambers to vote, Coun. Chuck Stam said he
was in favour of the motion to revoke the business licence of
WeeMedical, based on their failure to comply with the very specific
conditions, which included a promise not to sell cannabis after being
raided twice last year.

"I am confident the information provided by our staff (about the sale
of marijuana) is accurate," said Stam.

As Chilliwack's WeeMedical Wellness was about to lose its business
licence, the WeeMedical Wellness outlet in Richmond was being raided
by Richmond RCMP, seizing small package of what was believed to be
marijuana and a range of infused edibles.

Richmond RCMP is taking a similar approach to Chilliwack.

"During the course of our investigation, officers learned that the
storefront was the recipient of more than eight business licence
related infractions dating back to November 2016," said Const. Dennis
, Richmond RCMP Media Liaison Officer.

"As the law currently stands, it is illegal to operate a business
without a licence and it is illegal to sell or distribute
marihuana/marihuana-based products. Full stop. Until such time as the
law changes, you can most certainly expect that a visit from us."
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