Josh Heatherington sits behind the counter at the WeeMedical medical marijuana dispensary in North Delta.

Medical pot shop in North Delta rolls on

Store denied a business licence; stays open despite $50,000 in fines

Purple Kush, Death Bubba, Ambrosia and Congo Haze are still for sale at medical pot shop in North Delta, and the store’s director says that’s not going to change.

The WeeMedical Dispensary Society insists its medical marijuana strains are not going anywhere and it will be business at usual at its North Delta store – despite being denied a business licence by the Corporation of Delta earlier this week.

“We’re staying open,” said society director May Joan Liu, adding WeeMedical will go to court to challenge the $1,000-a-day bylaw infraction fines the municipality is currently levying. The fines add up to more than $50,000 so far.

WeeMedical’s store at 9501 120 St. is one of several outlets the society operates in the Lower Mainland, and on Vancouver Island and the Sunshine Coast. WeeMedical applied to Delta for a business licence, but was rejected on the grounds that marijuana is an illegal drug.

The society appealed the decision of Property Use and Compliance staff to Delta council, but the appeal was rejected Monday evening.

“What harm is being done?” said Liu. “People are peaceful when they come into the store and they don’t have to go to the black market.”

Liu is adamant WeeMedical doesn’t sell marijuana for recreational use and the society insists their members (customers) prove they have been issued prescriptions for marijuana or other drugs for which marijuana can be substituted for.

“Some of our best clients are grandmothers,” said Jane Rowat, an employee at WeeMedical in North Delta. “They come in because they’re sore and sick. Some have brain tumors, or glaucoma, or their arthritis is so bad they can’t make cookies.”

WeeMedical currently operates with a business licence in Port Alberni. The society also has stores in Campbell River and Sechelt, where the two municipal governments are in the process of drafting local bylaws to regulate medical marijuana businesses.

But in Chilliwack, RCMP raided a WeeMedical store on two occasions last month.

The Delta Police Department has not been involved in the dispute – for now.

“If we do receive a complaint, or a report, we’re likely to initiate an investigation. And until the federal laws change, we’re bound to enforce them,” Acting Delta Police Sgt. Sarah Swallow told The Leader. “We do use discretion. And we support the efforts of people who legally use (marijuana) to obtain it in a legal way.”

Liu said more harm than good would be inflicted on the 500 people who have registered with the society in order to be permitted to buy medical marijuana.

“What happens to the people who come into the store now? Where do they go? They will go to the black market. Is that what (Delta councillors) want?”

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