West Kelowna targetting more pot shops

After pulling the licence for two local shops, RCMP investigating four more dispensaries

The City of West Kelowna is attempting to have all six marijuana dispensaries operating within the city closed

Just days after cancelling the business license for marijuana dispensaries Black Crow Herbal Solutions and The Healing Club, West Kelowna is moving against four other operations in the city, all of them operating a non-profit business model that doesn’t need a business licence.

Kirsten Jones, spokeswoman for the city, said a letter is being sent to all six dispensaries informing them they are operating illegally, contrary to city bylaws, and must close.

But it’s unclear if the city and a related RCMP investigation will have its effect.

When contacted after his business licence was pulled at West Kelowna council, a Black Crow Herbal director said they would continue to operate. For how long is the question.

Related: New UBCO study recommends allowing illegal shops to stay open

“At this point, we are considering our next step,” said Jones, adding the city does have the ability to ticket companies that defy city rules.

And while West Kelowna ponders its next move, some customers of the operations are asking how they will access medicinal marijuana if the shops close.

“I rely on The Healing Company for CBD which helps the inflammation in my back from debilitating degenerative disc disease,” wrote Marilyn Stante on the Capital News Facebook page. “I have a prescription from my doctor who believes this helps and so do I. It’s either that or opioids. This is extremely disturbing for me and I know of many others in the same situation. Those of you who voted for this will not have my vote and I will encourage others to do the same.”

Leslie Flammand, a cancer survivor, who suffers a number of other illnesses including PTSD, left the West Kelowna council meeting earlier this week in tears.

“I don’t know what I’m going to do,” she said wiping away tears as they rolled down her cheeks.

Robert Jaenicke, a director of Black Crow Herbal—questioned the timing of the move.

“Why now? Why after all this time? he asked the Vernon Morning Star in an interview. “It doesn’t make any sense to me because I’ve been operating now for three years. I’m just not sure what their rush is now?”

In voting to cancel the licences, West Kelowna councillors stated selling or marijuana was still illegal.

Coun. Rusty Ensign said he didn’t like having to vote to cancel the business licences but said he had no choice because of the illegality of the sales. Coun. Rick DeJong said he voted to cancel because of both the illegality and because of concerns about the lack of a regulatory program to ensure the quality of the cannabis being sold.

With the federal government moving to marijuana legalization next year it will be up to the provincial government to announce a plan to distribute the product. However there has been no government announcement yet.

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kparnell@kelownacapnews.com

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