Vancouver, Canada

Spencer Watson

Vancouver Warns Unlicensed Dispensaries: Enforcement is Coming

Vancouver regulators are threatening fines or jail time for unlicensed cannabis businesses that don’t comply with orders to close.

Full story after the jump.

The city of Vancouver, British Columbia has issued a warning to unlicensed cannabis businesses that enforcement will be stepping up if the shops don’t close, according to the CBC.

The British Columbia Supreme Court ordered the shops to close in December after the city filed formal injunctions against 53 different cannabis businesses in December.

Additionally, Vancouver officials have approved the city’s first three cannabis dispensary licenses. The gloves are expected to come off as the city ceases its easy-going approach now that there are legal avenues for acquiring store-bought cannabis.

“Our goal is always voluntary compliance with any bylaw enforcement,” said Kathryn Holm, Chief Licensing Inspector for Vancouver. “With respect to enforcement, we’ve continued to escalate.”

Some unlicensed business operators claim that enforcement hasn’t been equal across the board. The owners being ordered to shutter are frustrated.

“You know it’s like being a brother and sister, and the brother’s following all the rules and sister gets away with everything and what could you do? Mommy’s not looking.” — Mike Babins, owner of Evergreen Cannabis Society

It’s unclear exactly when all cannabis retailers are expected to be either licensed or shuttered. Holm, however, said that those who have received an injunction ordering them to close will face legal proceedings, fines, and perhaps even jail time if they don’t comply.

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