Pubdate: Wed, 07 Mar 2018
Source: Ottawa Citizen (CN ON)
Copyright: 2018 Postmedia Network Inc.
Author: Jacquie Miller
Page: A2


Cannabis Culture, a former pot shop on Bank Street, lost a court bid
to have its eviction overturned.

Justice Michelle O'Bonsawin ruled the landlord was justified in
terminating the lease because the dispensary was operating in
contravention of both its rental lease and federal law.

The landlord posted an eviction notice on the door of the illegal
dispensary in December and called a bailiff to change the locks.
Cannabis Culture appealed to the Superior Court of Justice to
reinstate the lease so it could continue to operate.

Cannabis Culture opened in February 2017 as a franchise of the brand
created by cannabis activists Marc and Jodie Emery. The dispensary, on
Bank between Gladstone Avenue and Somerset Street, operated seven days
a week. Sales were open to anyone 19 and over. The waiting room was
often packed with customers waiting to enter a locked back room to
shop for dried weed, concentrates and cannabis accessories.

Cannabis Culture offered no evidence it had permits or licences to
operate a medical-marijuana dispensary, O'Bonsawin said in a ruling
dated March 1.

Federal law permits the sale of medical marijuana by companies
licensed by Health Canada. The cannabis is sent by mail.

Cannabis Culture also contravened the Controlled Drugs and Substances
Act, the judge noting: "Its conduct showed a wilful disregard for the

Ottawa police raided Cannabis Culture twice - in March 2017 and again
in October. Ten clerks were arrested and face charges of drug
trafficking under the act. The cases are making their way through the
court system.

In an affidavit, Cannabis Culture general manager Greg Guertin said it
was his belief that "at no time has Cannabis Culture conducted illegal
activity." The company has not been convicted of any criminal
activity, bylaw or zoning infraction, he said.

The company spent $78,000 renovating the space, paid rent on time and
provided a security deposit, he wrote. The landlord posted a
termination notice on the door without a chance for further discussion
to alleviate any concerns, he said.

Cannabis Culture signed a fiveyear lease in November

The lease specified the space would be used for a medical-marijuana
dispensary, with the tenant obtaining "all necessary permits and
approvals for the stated use." The lease also said the tenant could
not use the space for illegal activity.

In court documents, the landlord said it sent letters to Cannabis
Culture twice after being notified by police that activities at the
store were illegal.

The second letter from the landlord, sent Nov. 21, 2017, said unless
Cannabis Culture could provide evidence illegal activities had
stopped, the landlord would terminate the lease. The bailiff arrived
Dec. 5 with Ottawa police to close the shop.
- ---
MAP posted-by: Matt