Green Dragon forced to shut its doors but another marijuana dispensary next door continues to operate.

Green Dragon falls, but others continue on

BC injunction closes only one dispensary in Victoria. Other injunctions sought.

While a B.C. Supreme Court ruling has upheld a Victoria council decision to reject a rezoning application for a Herald Street marijuana dispensary, others continue to operate, literally as close as next door to the shut down operation.

In September, Green Dragon Medicinal Society (541 Herald St.) had its application rejected on the basis of rules stipulating that dispensaries cannot operate within 400 metres of a school. The shop was less than 160 metres away from the Chinese Public School on Fisgard St.

Green Dragon appealed council’s rejection, seeking to have the courts quash that ruling.

But in his decision, Chief Justice Christopher Hinkson wrote:

“In my opinion, the conclusion by a municipal council, without holding a public hearing, that a storefront cannabis retailer operation in proximity to a location where children and young people will be found in numbers should not be permitted, is a decision that falls within the range of reasonable outcomes on an application by such a retailer for rezoning.

“I am also satisfied that in rejecting Green Dragon’s application and in declining to submit it to a public hearing, the City met its statutory procedural obligations and there was no breach of any common law procedural fairness obligations.”

The court granted the City’s request for an injunction to allow bylaw officers to shut down the operation. A person contacted at Green Dragon who would not give his name confirmed the shop was permanently closed and that he was “cleaning out” the shop.

“We’re out of here and Victoria will never see us again,” he said, while berating the City for what he claimed were unfair and inconsistent enforcement to their rules.

While the recent court victory may help facilitate the City’s attempts to shut down dispensaries that don’t meet the criteria set out in regulations enacted in September, it hasn’t resulted in closure of other pot shops for which rezoning was similarly rejected by council.

Phone calls to Shadow Mountain at 543 Herald St. and Melt Town at 2650 Quadra St. confirmed that both outlets continue to operate, despite no proper zoning in place to do so.

Mayor Lisa Helps sees the court ruling as a positive development in what has become a difficult situation for Canadian municipalities. The federal government plans to legalize marijuana for recreational purposes this July, but has left regulatory details in limbo.

“We faced a challenge right now in regulating these shops in that we could face a court challenge every time we try to shut one down,” said Helps. “At least with this precedent, the court has said we have the right to enact our bylaws and to enforce them.”

She added it’s unfortunate that some dispensaries are choosing to ignore the by-laws, forcing the City to use taxpayer money to take them to court.

The City has filed other injunctions against non-compliant shops. In the interim, confirmed City spokesperson Rebecca Kerswell, bylaw officers continue to issue tickets onsite for offences ranging from having no business licence to allowing consumption on site, and on to a full range of violations of virtually every portion of the city’s by-law regulations.

As of Jan. 26 the City had issued 212 tickets to pot dispensaries, with fines totalling more than $150,000, said Kerswell. Most are being disputed, she added, meaning that most have not been paid.

Just Posted

Local tongue-in-cheek opportunists flog snow huts

‘Executive’ and ‘eco-friendly’ one-bedrooms pop up on Craigslist and Used Victoria

OUR VIEW: Search and rescue organization needs to be examined

No organization should be immune to scrutiny

Province urges backcountry adventurers to stay safe this weekend

Search and rescue responded to 28 incidents last Family Day weekend

Snow storms prompt reminders to prepare for emergencies

Province reminds public of essential supplies

Emerging Sooke filmmaker takes spotlight with special award

Mary Galloway creates her own opportunities

B.C. students win Great Waters Challenge video contest

Video, mural and song about saving the salmon claims the top prize

Pavelski’s 31st goal helps Sharks top Canucks 3-2

Vancouver one point out of second NHL wild-card spot

Eight cases of measles confirmed in Vancouver outbreak

Coastal Health official say the cases stem from the French-language Ecole Jules Verne Secondary

Ontario police field complaints over Amber Alert for missing girl, 11, found dead

Some said the Amber Alert issued late Thursday for Riya Rajkumar disrupted their sleep

Former B.C. premier Gordon Campbell accused of sexual touching

Accuser went to police, interviewed by Britian’s Daily Telegraph

B.C. couple attacked with acid, slashed with knife in Vietnam

Warning, graphic images: Man has burns on 80 per cent of his body, slashed with knife

Northern B.C. First Nation clan says ancient tools found at pipeline work site

Archeologists from the Smithsonian Institute estimate one of the stones found dates back up to 3500 years

Names keep adding to vaccine petition started by B.C. mom

Maple Ridge mom started campaign to make vaccination a condition of attending school

Most Read