Marijuana wellness centre granted business licence

What police have called an “illegal storefront business” continues to operate but minus a key aspect.

The city granted WeeMedical a business licence on Sept. 13, two days after the chain agreed with a court order prohibiting it from dispensing marijuana.

The Third Avenue downtown store was the subject of an RCMP raid in early August. Police seized a “considerable amount” of marijuana and cannabis-infused food as well as other items in support of charges under the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act.

Two people were also arrested and later released on promises to appear in court on Oct. 11.

Two weeks after the police action, the city filed a petition in B.C. Supreme Court in Prince George seeking the order.

In part, it noted that while Ottawa intends to decriminalize or legalize the possession, sale and distribution of marijuana, it continues to be prohibited under federal law.

And pursuant to the its business licence bylaw, the city “does not permit the operation of an illegal business, including the sale and distribution of marijuana and marijuana-based products.”

WeeMedical will still be able to operate as a “wellness centre” under the order’s terms. For “greater clarity” it’s noted that nothing in the order prohibits WeeMedical from selling such smoking-related products as bongs, pipes and rolling papers.

It can also sell memberships in the WeeMedical Society and provide “consulting, educational or advocacy services related to the use of medical marijuana as an alternative source of medicine.”

In light of the order, store manager Ken St. Denis said the outlet offers advice on obtaining a permit for medical marijuana and on users’ rights and sells cannabidiol or marijuana-based products that hold medicinal value but lack the compound that produces the high.

It has not been the first time WeeMedical has been the subject of such an action from a municipality, nor will it be the last. On Friday, Quesnel filed a similar petition in B.C. Supreme Court in Vancouver alleging a WeeMedical outlet on the community had been operating without a business licence.

By: Mark NIELSEN / Prince George Citizen