A well-known Vancouver medical marijuana advocate has had an appeal to keep his long-running dispensary open.
Dana Larsen says application to the Board of Variance for his shop on 880 East Hastings was dismissed in mere minutes because it was within a manufacturing zone.
He says he was dismissed without even getting a chance to speak at the hearing.
“Without any form of appeal possible, the Board of Variance wouldn’t even hear anything we had to say. They just said you’re rejected and called on the next hearing, so it was very anti-climactic for us.”
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That said, Larsen plans to keep his dispensary open despite warnings and tickets, saying his business serves some at-risk clients in the Downtown Eastside that rely on his products.
“We still have legal avenues ahead. We’re going to be fighting in the courts, we’re going to battle this but certainly it’s not a good thing for us to be rejected like this.”
Last month, the city jacked fines for delinquent dispensaries by a factor of four, to $1,000 per violation.
Larsen says he has no problem with the enforcement of bylaws from the City of Vancouver, but says there does need to be added flexibility.
Larsen’s was one of 62 dispensaries blocked outright from the permit application process when Vancouver introduced its new dispensary bylaws last year.
Since then, only a handful have successfully stickhandled appeals past the board of Variance, which has shown little willingness to bend on issues such as proximity to schools.
At least four of those rejected appeals are now making their way to B.C. Supreme Court.