We now know how busy City of Vancouver bylaw inspectors were this weekend, as they attempted to tackle the issue of non-compliant medical marijuana dispensaries.
Friday’s deadline for pot shops that didn’t adhere to city bylaws to close down has come and gone.
And the city says inspectors have handed out 44 violation notices to dispensaries, totaling about $11,000, since the process began. 23 of those were handed out this weekend.
Chief Licensing Inspector Andreea Toma says crews are still getting geared up.
“What we are doing now in terms of the manpower we have is establishing who is open in the city, and we’ll be doing that this week.”
Some dispensary owners have reported that inspectors seem to be avoiding pot shops who currently have appeals before the Board of Variance.
That’s an allegation Toma denies.
“That’s not the case, our expectation is that they will close. I think some have complied with us.”
A business can be hit by a fine of $250 every day it continues to operate, but many dispensary owners say that’s not enough of a deterrent to shut down.
Those fines are also only “per day” in so much as an inspector is on site to issue it. Tickets cannot be issued retroactively, and dispensaries have 15 days to dispute them.
“The tickets are not meant to be punitive. We’re not looking to get money out of the folks, we’re looking for compliance.”
Toma says the city is prioritizing its enforcement, but declined to say how those priorities were being weighed.
Vancouver City Councillor Kerry Jang has previously warned that fines could escalate up to $10,000, and that the city will obtain court ordered injunctions, backed by the police, if necessary.