Pubdate: Fri, 01 Dec 2017
Source: Abbotsford News (CN BC)
Copyright: 2017 Abbotsford News
Author: Kelvin Gawley
Page: A4


Motacan Compassion Society is exempt from business licence
requirement, operator argues

A medical marijuana dispensary is suing the City of Abbotsford in an
effort to remain open and avoid paying thousands of dollars in tickets.

Motacan Compassion Society, which operates a storefront location in an
alley off Montrose Avenue in downtown Abbotsford, says it is exempt
from bylaws requiring a business licence due to its not-for-profit
society status.

In a petition filed last week in B.C. Supreme Court, "principal
operator" David Smith claims Motacan is a registered society that
provides "reasonable access to medical cannabis to members of the
society on a highly subsidized basis."

The lawsuit says Motacan serves an average of 100 people per day, all
of whom use cannabis for legitimate health needs, including the
treatment of cancer, glaucoma and side effects from drugs for
AIDS/HIV, multiple sclerosis, Parkinson's disease and other ailments.

"Motacan Society is not a business open to the public," Smith

In February, a B.C. Supreme Court judge ruled the City of Abbotsford
could continue to fine dispensaries. The city has taken on the
dispensaries by refusing to grant them business licences and then
writing them pricey tickets, sometimes daily, for operating without

City spokesperson Tracy Boudreau said she could not comment about the
specific case, as it is an open legal matter, but said that between
the start of the year and the end of September, the city wrote 1,313
to "illegal cannabis storefronts." Only 69 of those have been paid,
she said.

February's ruling came after Don Briere, the operator of the
now-closed Mary Jane's Glass & Gifts, sued the city in July 2016,
alleging its bylaws were unconstitutional.

Motacan has been issued at least 36 tickets since May 2017, each
coming with a $200 to $300 fine, the court documents claim. It appears
those thousands of dollars in fines have not been paid.

Smith accuses the city of having an "impermissible ulterior motive"
that "directly and indirectly impedes, obstructs and frustrates
reasonable dignified patient access to medical cannabis."

The city has not yet filed a response to the lawsuit.

Smith told The News he would not comment publicly at this time.
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