A pot shop has been given the first fine under the City of Victoria’s new rules aimed at marijuana retailers, and it plans to fight the penalty.
Green Ceiling was fined $500 on Friday for allowing cannabis consumption on site, which is contrary to the business licensing requirements that took effect on Sept. 23.
Victoria Mayor Lisa Helps said the marijuana dispensary community has been heavily involved in developing the regulations. “So we expect businesses to comply with the new bylaw and those who don’t will be fined. [Friday] was an indication that we mean it.”
Helps said the majority of dispensaries are working hard to come into compliance. “I’m very happy with the level of seriousness with which many of the dispensary owners are taking this new regulatory regime.”
Other requirements include: operating hours restricted between 7 a.m. and 8 p.m. and a maximum of two display signs without any images.
Green Ceiling charges clients $5 an hour to smoke in a coffee-shop-style setting.
Owner Ashley Abraham said she was not surprised by the fine and will dispute it. “I’m going to continue providing the service that I’m providing.”
Abraham said she believes the fine is unfair to those who rely on having a safe space to consume medical marijuana.
“To allow sales of cannabis, but not allow a space for consumption of it is a big disservice not only to those who consume cannabis, but also those who don’t,” Abraham said. “Because public consumption, when you don’t have lounges, is in parks, it’s in the streets and it’s in alleyways.”
Helps agreed there is a need for safe spaces for medical marijuana consumption, but “charging people to take medicine goes directly against the public health system we have in Canada.”
Businesses that do not comply with the new rules face fines up to $1,000 a day.
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