Daily fines not ruled out for Kelowna marijuana dispensaries | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Daily fines not ruled out for Kelowna marijuana dispensaries

November 10, 2017 - 7:30 PM

KELOWNA – The City of Kelowna is not following West Kelowna in implementing daily fines for marijuana dispensaries.

At least not yet.

In late October, the City of West Kelowna warned the only two marijuana dispensaries with business licenses that they would have to shut down. They have been getting $1,000 daily fines from Bylaw enforcement for the last ten days. 

City of Kelowna spokesperson Tom Wilson says there are “current and open enforcement investigations on all known dispensaries within the jurisdiction of the City of Kelowna” and that “legal enforcement actions are underway on a prioritized basis.”

"We are not doing daily fines... but some (dispensaries) have received a number of bylaw notice violations and tickets," he says.

He says further enforcement action will occur as appropriate.

No marijuana dispensaries in Kelowna currently have business licences, but that's not because dispensaries don't want them.

“The City of Kelowna has taken a position through council direction and staff recommendation not to issue business licences to medical marijuana dispensaries as they are not recognized as a lawful business under the current medical marijuana federal regulations and the Controlled Drugs & Substances Act,” Wilson says in an email.

District of Lake Country director of community services Mark P. Koch says they have no dispensaries and join Kelowna and West Kelowna in refusing to issue business licences until the federal government unveils their plan for decriminalization.

"We have had several inquiries, but based on legal advice, not issued business licenses based on the fact that storefront marijuana sales is, at this point, still federally illegal," he says in an email.

Each of the three areas have bylaws in place for dealing with businesses operating without a licence.

West Kelowna spokesperson Kirsten Jones says five of the six dispensaries in West Kelowna have been getting $1,000 fines for every day they’ve remained open since Nov. 1. The sixth agreed to close down.

“The City’s bylaw enforcement office will continue with enforcement action as long as the dispensaries continue to operate," she says. "Our bylaw allows for ticketing $1,000 per day as long as the offence continues. If fines are not paid, the City can pursue through a collection agency or small debts court."

Wilson says Kelowna could follow suit but was unable to confirm the amount of the fine or when they would begin.

Bylaw 7878 4.4 identifies a $500 fine for carrying on business without a licence.

The federal government has committed to legalization by July 1, 2018, leaving provincial governments to regulate how it will be sold. 

To contact a reporter for this story, email Adam Proskiw or call 250-718-0428 or email the editor. You can also submit photos, videos or news tips to the newsroom and be entered to win a monthly prize draw.

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