Simi Sara takes BC Pain Society owner to task.
We brought you the story yesterday of the owner of BC Pain Society, who says he’s keeping his Commercial Drive dispensary open despite losing his bid for a business license.
Chuck Varabioff operates three medical marijuana dispensary, two in Vancouver and one in Victoria.
In Vancouver, only one of his two stores has made it through the permit process. His Commercial Drive location was not approved because it’s too close to a private school and a recreational centre.
Varabioff says he appealed, but lost the appeal.
“It was so new to the Board of Variance, in my opinion they didn’t give anybody a fair appeal, and I was denied.”
He says he wants to get another appeal because a dispensary next to the same school that was the issue for his application won their appeal last week.
In the meantime, he’s staying open. Which is something we’ve been hearing from a number of dispensaries.
He joined Simi on her show, where she challenged him about his decision to stay open.
LISTEN to full interview here:
SS – “Chuck, here’s where I have a problem with this. It seems to dispensaries are trying to have it every way. You wanted to be treated like legal businesses, now you are, this is the process that legal businesses have to go through, but you’re saying you’re not really going to follow the rules. So how is that right?”
CV – “I’m not saying I don’t like it. I’m saying I like the whole process. But I’m saying I didn’t get a fair appeal. Why should one dispensary who is closer to the same school that I was denied for. Why should they have won their appeal, and I didn’t, when they argues exactly the same points as I did.”
SS – “But that does happen, with restaurants, food trucks…There’s a process that has to be followed otherwise you get chaos.”
Chuck says if he was given a fair chance, he’d be looking harder than he is now for a now location. But because he doesn’t think he was given a “fair shake”, he’s hired a legal team to help him get back in front of the Board of Variance.
CV – “Do you want people running around under SkyTrain parking lots, in back alleys selling marijuana because…”
SS – “But that’s not the case Chuck because ewe’re going to have some dispensaries already.”
CV – “Seven dispensaries will not be enough to, mark my words, to support the amount of people using them.”
He says he knows that because he’s serves 500 customers a day in his store, and there’s no way that seven stores will be able to pick up the slack of dozens more closing.
SS – “You serve 500 customers a day and they all have medical marijuana certificates?”
CV – “Every single one of them, all 15,000 members have a reason to come in and they all have a medical reason to come in now.”
Fear mongering is not a solution
Varabioff says street dealers will be back selling to underage kids if the city goes through with its crackdown.
CV – “Do you want the possibility of fentanyl-laced marijuana being sold to people because that’s a potential.”
SS – “But that’s fear mongering. What is the solution here? I want to support this, but I think that dispensaries should have to follow the rules. And it doesn’t sound like a lot of dispensary are willing to follow the rules, just because it didn’t go their way. “
Varabioff says he’s willing to work with the city, but the city isn’t coming up with any solutions.
As for Friday’s deadline, he says he’s not concerned at all it.