Pubdate: Wed, 30 Aug 2017
Source: Hamilton Spectator (CN ON)
Copyright: 2017 The Hamilton Spectator
Author: Susan Clairmont
Page: A5


A court injunction has shut down a vapour lounge not because it
violated pot laws, but because it contravened a zoning bylaw.

The City of Hamilton was successful in winning an interim injunction
against Cloud Nine vape lounge because the space it occupies on the
second floor of 275 King St. E. is zoned residential, not commercial.

Meanwhile, a judge has ruled that the pot dispensary on the first
floor of the same building can stay open.

The order by Justice Thomas Lofchik was handed down Aug. 24,
essentially giving the city half of what it wanted.

It had hoped to force both businesses to close, but the Superior Court
judge has allowed Hamilton Village Dispensary to remain open to sell
marijuana and marijuana products to those with prescriptions. However,
those folks can no longer go upstairs to consume their purchase.

"They shut Cloud Nine down because of the nature of the business and
they're using any excuse," says owner Britney Guerra, who has now
started the process of applying for the space to be rezoned as commercial.

She is not optimistic. "The city will probably deny the zoning," she

This isn't Guerra's first battle with city hall or the

In February, she was one of the recipients of cease-and-desist letters
the city sent to 17 medical marijuana dispensaries. At the time, she
owned Cannabis Culture dispensary (which is now Hamilton Village

Pot businesses operate in an unregulated grey area with no governing
bylaws while the federal government slowly introduces new retail and
production rules for marijuana.

"Life will be so much easier for all involved when the province gets
around to regulating what the feds legislate," says Coun. Jason Farr,
whose Ward 2 includes the address in question.

He declined to say more than that because the case is still before the

In March, Cannabis Culture in Hamilton was raided by Toronto police as
part of a takedown of the chain's owners, Mark and Jodie Emery. Guerra
was charged with conspiracy to commit an indictable offence.

One of her conditions was to stay out of all pot dispensaries. To get
to the only staircase leading up to Cloud Nine, she would have to walk
through the dispensary, so she had been working from home since the
arrest. That is, until the whole lounge was shut down last week.

Things have changed for Hamilton Village Dispensary, too, in the wake
of the court order. But Conrad Floyd, who owns the building and refers
to himself as part of a "collective" running the dispensary, sees that
as a good thing.

For him, the court ruling to allow the dispensary to continue
operating is akin to a stamp of approval.

However, over the last few days, it has had to shift from being a
"recreational dispensary" selling pot to any adult with or without a
prescription to only serving those with a medical marijuana

"My agenda is to work with the city," Floyd says, adding he has
lawyers ready to push for a rezoning of the building's upper floor.

A dispensary and vape lounge "is what the public clearly wants," he
says. "Cannabis will revive whole communities."

The interim injunction will be back in court in December.
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