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Council votes 5-1 to ban pot shops in North Vancouver

Cannabis sales are officially banned in the City of North Vancouver, following council’s 5-1 vote on Monday, much to the chagrin of the city’s pot shop proprietors.
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Pipe down, marijuana smokers.

Cannabis sales are officially banned in the City of North Vancouver, following council’s 5-1 vote on Monday, much to the chagrin of the city’s pot shop proprietors.

“I don’t know exactly where that leaves us,” said Weeds Glass and Gifts Ltd. owner Michael Wuest.

 Marijuana/ShutterstockMarijuana/Shutterstock

Suggesting the decision bordered on a “dereliction of duty,” Wuest argued council will be responsible for lost jobs and lost revenue for the city.

“This isn’t helping our citizens,” he said. “It’s going to force things underground again.”

Wuest advocated for interim business licences for pot shops until the city establishes a regulatory framework.

“We want to work with the city,” he said.

In the meantime, Weeds will continue doing business, according to Wuest.

“We are going to stay open for as long as we can.”

The decision was also a blow to Lotusland Cannabis Club owner Shane Escher, who stated that he expects to be served a city injunction that will force his dispensary to close down after two years of operation.

In an emailed statement, Escher explained that he’d invested time and money in the dispensary with the understanding the city would give LotusLand a chance to comply with federal and provincial laws.

 The City of North Vancouver has effectively banned pot shops pending nation-wide marijuana legalization. This means several city joints may get shut down, including Herban Art Collective. (Photo Cindy Goodman/North Shore News)The City of North Vancouver has effectively banned pot shops pending nation-wide marijuana legalization. This means several city joints may get shut down, including Herban Art Collective. (Photo Cindy Goodman/North Shore News)

He also highlighted the customers who use marijuana medicinally.

“How do we tell this 74-year-old, who sufferers from cluster migraine headaches in which cannabis tincture is the only thing which helps, that (he) must order online and wait three days for the medicine to show up or alternatively, find their way to Vancouver?” he wrote.

“We want to pay for a business license, we want to be in compliance, we want to work with the city.”

Coun. Rod Clark cast the only vote against the bylaw. While there was no discussion Monday, Clark previously defended his opposition on pragmatic grounds, suggesting it would be “foolish” to spend taxpayers’ money to enforce a policy that will likely be reversed once marijuana is legalized.

The issue isn’t legalization but regulation, according to Mayor Darrell Mussatto, who has previously explained that the city’s enforcement strategy will allow North Vancouver time to implement new rules ahead of legalization.

Council passed the bylaws shortly after the City of North Vancouver filed petitions in B.C. Supreme Court to force the closure of pot shops that have been operating illegally, including Herban Art Collective, Weeds, and Lotusland.

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