West Kelowna  

Pot clubs lose licence

West Kelowna council has effectively shut down what staff call two storefront marijuana dispensaries in the city.

Council Tuesday afternoon supported staff recommendations to cancel the business licences of 0977843 BC Ltd., doing business as The Healing Club on Steven Road and Black Crow Herbals on Westgate Road.

Representatives of both companies implored council to put off a decision until the new year when it is expected the provincial government will have decided on a distribution model for the legal sale of marijuana.

David Towill, lawyer for The Healing Club, said the club has operated for three years with no problems, and deciding to cancel the business licence would not only put the owner out of business, but harm many of the 700 members of the 'private members club.'

Towill said the company does not sell to people off the street, but only to those members with a legal medical marijuana prescription.

In a statement read on behalf of the owner of Black Crow Herbals, Robert Janicke, he added the company has the right to serve its customers in a dignified manner under the Charter of Rights.

He said failing to do so will likely amount to costly court challenges.

Towill, when questioned by council whether what the company was doing was illegal, said by the letter of the law, "it is an illegal activity."

"The reason I am in favour of this is safety," said Coun. Rick de Jong.

"My concern is the interim...we heard there has been no harm done, but there is no regulatory body to ensure the safety of the product. We don't know if it is safe."

De Jong said his secondary issue is that of legality adding, in the case of Black Crow Herbals, "I don't believe there is any intent here."

Coun. Bryden Winsby said it was important to note council's decision is not a statement it is for, or against the legalization of marijuana.

Coun. Carol Zanon stated she can't condone the businesses, even though there is a need, while Coun. Rusty Ensign added it's a decision he didn't want to make, but one he had to make.

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