Court upholds Abbotsford ban on pot dispensaries

Supreme Court ruling orders dispensary to stop selling marijuana and marijuana products and must get business licence.

An Abbotsford marijuana dispensary must stop selling pot and pot products, a Supreme Court justice ruled Monday in a case that tested the city’s right to deny such dispensaries business licences.

Justice Paul Walker found Weeds Glass & Gifts, on Clearbrook Road, needed a business licence, which it was barred from obtaining in part because of a bylaw barring the use of city land to produce or sell marijuana without explicit permission.

“This business was operating without a valid business license and we are pleased that the judge has seen fit to uphold our bylaws in this matter,” Mayor Henry Braun said in a news release. “We expect that the operator of this business will abide by the Court’s ruling.”

The store is one of three in Abbotsford operated by Don Briere, who had argued against the order to shut down the business because “enforcing laws based on lies and misconception is a misuse of public funds.” He had cited a Supreme Court of Canada case that ruled medical marijuana should be available in edible forms.

In the ruling Walker said Weeds Glass and Gifts can’t operate without a valid business licence or exemption, must stop using its location in contravention of the city’s business licence bylaw, and must stop selling pot and pot products by Thursday.

But Briere told The News that he would appeal the ruling and continue operations at his three Abbotsford stores.

Medical marijuana is legal in Canada, but the only official distribution channel is through a mail-order process overseen by Health Canada. “Compassion clubs” and dispensaries like Briere’s are technically illegal, but the laws against them remain unenforced in many communities.

There has been no court rulings yet on Briere’s other two Abbotsford marijuana businesses – on George Ferguson Way and South Fraser Way.

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