Vernon to crack down on illegal pot shops - InfoNews

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Vernon to crack down on illegal pot shops

Image Credit: ADOBE STOCK
March 27, 2019 - 4:00 PM

VERNON - The City of Vernon is going to crack down on illegal pot shops.

Council has directed bylaw officers to enforce citywide rules which would see the pot shops closed down under the “operating without a business licence” bylaw.

While an illegal pot shop may once have been an issue for the RCMP, last fall's legalization of cannabis means an unlicensed pot shop now falls under the jurisdiction of the city's bylaws.

Coun. Dalvir Nahal said taking action against the unlicensed pot shops was necessary to be fair to those that have gone through the proper channels and been compliant.

Currently, the city has no legal pot shops but there may be three or four operating illegally.

The city approved seven applications for non-medical cannabis businesses to open during its March 25 meeting. The applications will now have to gain provincial approval before the stores can open.

Currently, all seven applicants are for private stores, but an application from the province to open a BC Cannabis Store is currently being reviewed for a site at 2401 58 Ave., across from Walmart. If a successful, council will vote on whether to approve the provincial store in April.

When it comes to the illegal stores, owners who don't shut up shop could face stiff penalties for staying open.

According to the city's business licence bylaw, non-compliance fines range from $500 to $10,000 and can even include jail time of up to six months.

To contact a reporter for this story, email Ben Bulmer or call (250) 309-5230 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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