City seeks pot dispensary court injunction
Supporters vow to fight bid to permanently close businesses
The city is escalating its battle with illegal storefront pot shops by seeking a court injunction to shutter a popular downtown dispensary and vapour lounge.
But owners and supporters of the Hamilton Village Dispensary and Cloud Nine are vowing to fight to save the 275 King St. E businesses.
The injunction request obtained by The Spectator cites zoning and bylaw violations in asking a judge to order the businesses permanently closed. It also wants Hamilton police to be required to enforce the order.
The Village Dispensary — formerly Cannabis Culture — has been raided by police more than once over illegal drug sales, but has always reopened.
“It’s ridiculous. They’re looking for any option they can to shut us down,” said landlord Conrad Floyd, who added he intends to fight the court action alongside with his tenants.
“They are looking to set a precedent. I hope they do, because eventually we (cannabis activists) win these fights,” said Cloud Nine owner Britney Guerra, who pointed to Vancouver’s decision to license marijuana dispensaries in that city while the federal government slowly introduces new retail and production rules for pot.
Spokesperson Ann Lamanes said the city is “seeking compliance with municipal bylaws” through the injunction but declined to give more information because the matter is before the courts.
The injunction document, however, cites zoning violations as well as “flagrant” and repeated bylaw infractions related to signage, property standards and even the sale of chips and pop.
The owners and customers of around 20 retail medical marijuana pot shops in Hamilton rallied at City Hall earlier this year to protest the city’s bylaw crackdown — which comes on top of regular police raids to seize illegal drugs.
The growing number of storefront medical pot shops across Canada remain illegal despite pending new federal law changes designed to legalize marijuana and regulate production and distribution of the drug.
Guerra — who owned the local Cannabis Culture until she was charged by Toronto police earlier this year in a series of raids on the cross-country chain — concedes the dispensary and cannabis
They are looking to set a precedent. I hope they do... BRITNEY GUERRA CLOUD NINE OWNER
lounge are “not yet technically legal.”
But she argued the city should license the outlets in the interim to provide “badly needed” services to medical marijuana patients, as well as a “safe space” in the vapour lounge. She pointed to an in-store petition calling for licensing that she says has so far attracted thousands of names as well as an online version.
Floyd noted he and his tenants are already fighting bylaw charges and fines related to the city crackdown. “If you want to get regulatory cash out of us, that’s fine. But do it with licensing fees.”
Guerra said she would love to meet with city politicians to find a “mutually agreeable solution” — but, otherwise, she’ll keep up the fight. “This is a movement and we support each other.”
Cloud 9 on King Street East is one of a growing number of storefront medical marijuana shops. The city is “seeking compliance with municipal bylaws.”