Pubdate: Tue, 07 Nov 2017
Source: Daily Courier, The (CN BC)
Copyright: 2017 The Okanagan Valley Group of Newspapers
Author: Ron Seymour
Page: A1


5 West Kelowna stores rack up daily fines as they continue to sell
marijuana despite loss of their business licences

No business licence, no problem. That seems to be the defiant attitude
of five West Kelowna pot shops, which continue to sell marijuana
despite orders from the city to shut down.

"We are open for business as we speak," Selina Lau of Black Crow
Herbal Solutions said Monday.

The operators of each store are being fined $1,000 a day for not
having a business licence. The fines began Nov. 1 and will continue
indefinitely, the City of West Kelowna says.

Beyond stating the business is open, Lau declined to say anything

"Our company policy is to not make any comment to the media," she

Black Crow and four other pot shops have been visited every day since
Nov. 1 by city bylaw officers, who are issuing the fines.

"(They) are being issued $1,000 tickets because they have remained
open contrary to the city's business licensing bylaw," city
spokeswoman Kirsten Jones wrote in an email.

"The city's bylaw enforcement office will continue with enforcement
action as long as the dispensaries continue to operate," Jones said.
"If the fines are not paid, the city can pursue through a collection
agency or small debts court."

Mayor Doug Findlater said he expected a report on the enforcement
action would come before council in the near future.

The City of Vancouver has also been issuing pot shops hefty fines,
with little success in collecting payment.

As of mid-August, Vancouver had issued more than 2,000 tickets, for a
total of $1.2 million. But only $160,000 had actually been collected
by the city.

The first court case between the City of Vancouver and a pot shop
flouting the city's order to shut down isn't scheduled to be heard
until late 2018.

Like other municipalities, West Kelowna has been struggling with the
best approach to take to the pot shops. West Kelowna council has
decided to try to shut the businesses down, even though marijuana will
be legalized next July 1.

The sale of marijuana, even to those who have a doctor's prescription
to use pot, is illegal under current federal law, councillors noted at
a meeting in October when the pot shops' business licences were cancelled.

"I think it behooves us to ensure that we are not condoning illegal
activity," Coun. Bryden Winsby said at the Oct. 10 meeting.

The provincial government has just wrapped up a public consultation
process on how pot should be distributed when it becomes legal next

In its submission to Victoria, West Kelowna council urged the
government to control the distribution and retail systems, and to not
allow the sale of pot at privately owned stores.
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