A group of Downtown Eastside residents is taking an unusually intense interest in marijuana-storefront application that’s up for review today (July 12).
The dispensary in question is called Herban Legends and located at 3028 Arbutus Street, near the intersection of West 14th Street.
The Downtown Eastside SRO Collaborative is a group of mostly low-income residents who live in the neighbourhood’s shoddy hotels. It has scheduled a news conference to occur at Vancouver City Hall just before the dispensary is to appear before the board of variance for a review of its application to run a marijuana-related businesses.
Why is the Downtown Eastside SRO Collaborative, which was recently in the news for protests related to the Balmoral Hotel, interfering in the business of a marijuana dispensary on Vancouver’s West Side?
“A hint: the city is soft on slumlords but we are not!” reads a July 12 media release. “Come and find out more at a media conference on the steps of City Hall.”
The applicant behind Herban Legends is Lachman Singh. According to a statement provided to the Straight, he is in reality only an employee, and the dispensary’s owners and operators are two brothers belonging to the Sahota family.
The statement was allegedly written by Ajantha Dharmapala. In it, he describes himself as a former manager of the Balmoral Hotel and assistant to the controller of the Sahotas’ property-management company.
The Sahota family is well known in the Downtown Eastside because it owns several of the neighbourhood’s larger private hotels, including the Regent, Cobalt, Astoria, and Balmoral, the latter of which was declared structurally unsound. (On June 12, the Balmoral was evacuated after some 200 residents were given just one week to find new places to live.)
At the news conference scheduled for 3:30 p.m. today, members of the Downtown Eastside SRO Collaborative are expected to argue that the City of Vancouver should not allow the Sahota family to operate a marijuana-related business.