A B.C. Supreme Court judge has awarded a local government special costs after WeeMedical Dispensary Society refused to shut down despite being ordered to do so.
WeeMedical didn’t have a business licence from the Corporation of Delta. And the city council had not zoned the area of its storefront operation at 9501 120 Street for medicinal marijuana.
And when WeeMedical refused to shut down, Delta obtained a permanent injunction from B.C. Supreme Court Justice Shelley Fitpatrick earlier this month.
In a decision posted on the B.C. Supreme Court website last week, Fitzpatrick noted that there was no dispute that WeeMedical knew that it was required to have a business licence.
‘It applied for one and Delta declined to issue a licence not once, but twice,’ the judge stated, according to her oral reasons for judgment. ‘It is also well-taken that WeeMedical was aware, even before it began operations that this type of a retail medical marihuana dispensary is not permitted under the zoning bylaw. In those circumstances, I consider it likely that WeeMedical had little expectation of being successful in obtaining a licence; rather, WeeMedical acted on the assumption that, as in other communities, its operations would be simply ignored.’
The ruling noted that as of June 1, 2016, the municipality had assessed fines of $11,900.
‘It is my understanding that daily attendances by the bylaw officers are continuing at this time, and that more tickets have been issued and fines imposed,’ Fitzpatrick added. ‘I have no doubt that that amount of outstanding fines is substantially higher at this time.’
She also noted that WeeMedical is in a legal dispute with its landlord. ‘The landlord changed the locks and WeeMedical changed them back such that it retains control of the premises.’
A director of the society, May Joan Liu, conceded in court that the criminal law doesn’t allow for retail marijuana dispensaries. But she stated that the society is still challenging its tickets.
‘Ms. Liu has been quite frank in her submissions to this Court in terms of what she is trying to accomplish,’ Fitzpatrick said. ‘She says that she is here to push the envelope and maybe push the legislative agenda along in that respect. That is a decision that WeeMedical has certainly taken but, at the end of the day, our laws are created through a democratic process.
‘Accordingly, I am more than satisfied that the permanent statutory injunction is appropriate. It may be that once the criminal law in relation to medical marihuana is changed, there will be a different legal landscape to consider. Until that happens, all people in British Columbia, including WeeMedical, are required to obey those laws.’