Pubdate: Mon, 20 Feb 2017
Source: Penticton Herald (CN BC)
Copyright: 2017 The Okanagan Valley Group of Newspapers
Author: Joe Fries
Page: A1
Referenced: Ruling:


Penticton's mayor is applauding a recent B.C. Supreme Court decision
that ruled local governments do indeed have the right to regulate
medical marijuana dispensaries. "The judge clearly stated that even
though the use of marijuana is federally regulated, the federal law
does not authorize access to medical marijuana from dispensaries and
municipalities are not precluded from putting in regulations to
control them," Andrew Jakubeit said in a statement.

"This decision is welcomed as it provides further clarity on our
rights and obligations to control dispensaries and gives added
strength to our enforcement policy."

The decision was issued Feb. 14 in response to a petition filed by the
City of Abbotsford, which sought an order declaring the operator of a
marijuana dispensary there to be in violation of the local business
licence and zoning bylaws.

The city argued Mary Jane's Glass and Gifts breached the business
licence bylaw by operating without a permit, since staff refused one
due to the illegal nature of marijuana.

It also argued the company breached the zoning bylaw, which
specifically bans the sale of marijuana in the area where the shop was
located. In its reply, Mary Jane's argued the city overstepped its
powers because medical marijuana is regulated by the federal
government, and superior courts have upheld patients' right to access
the drug outside the mail-order process established by Health Canada.

Dealing with the regulation aspect only, the judge ruled such overlap
is fair.

"The mere existence of federal legislation in a given field does not
oust provincial or municipal authority to regulate the same subject
matter," Justice Miriam Gropper wrote in her decision.

Penticton is one of a handful of B.C. municipalities that has moved to
regulate medical marijuana dispensaries ahead of the planned
decriminalization of the drug later this year.

City council in December issued the approvals required to legitimize
two such dispensaries, while outlawing five others.

Those that are still operating without permission are being fined $500
per day, according to Jakubeit, and council is also considering
seeking a court order to shut them down.
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