If you’re operating an illegal pot shop in Vancouver, fines are quadrupling.
In an effort to get business owners – who continue to defy orders – to comply with bylaws, the city is increasing fines from $250 dollars to $1,000.
The city’s Chief Licensing inspector Andreea Toma says it’s the heftiest fine the city can issue under the Vancouver Charter.
“The $250 fine is basically the standard across most violations operating without a business license or operating a business outside the conditions of that license,” said Toma, explaining why the fine was low to begin with.
Councillor Melissa De Genova says it’s unfair to those who pay for a business license.
“They’re being ticketed once every month. So paying $250 dollars a month or $30,000 a year, it seems they are being rewarded for operating outside the zoning bylaw.”
More than 1,000 tickets have been issued since April, only 250 have paid.
Toma says around 60 pot shops continue to operate illegally in the city.
Asked why the city can’t just go in and shut down illegal shops?
“It’s not that easy. The difficulty comes with what’s to be expected because there are changes that are going to occur at all levels of government. We’re expecting in the next two weeks or so for the federal task force to put something forward to the federal government. They’re going to have to start drafting the legislation.”
The city has taken legal action and has filed 27 injunctions to date.