The City of Abbotsford has collected just a tiny portion of more than $300,000 in fines levied against medical marijuana dispensaries since the start of 2015, The News has found.
The city has issued 1,408 bylaw offence notices against such establishments, according to figures disclosed after a Freedom of Information request. But of a total of $316,600 in fines, just $6,275 has been collected by the city. Those represent just 25 of the 1,408 bylaw offence notices levied.
The city would not comment on why so few fines have been collected, citing an ongoing court case.
In February, a B.C. Supreme Court Justice ruled the city had the right to fine medical marijuana dispensaries operating without a business licence. The city had previously refused to grant such establishments business licences, saying that federal law makes such operations illegal.
Last July, the operator of Mary Jane’s Glass & Gifts, Don Briere, sued the city, alleging its bylaws were unconstitutional. But when a hearing began in November, Briere — who had initially vowed to fight the city to the end — told the court that Mary Jane’s had closed and that he had agreed to not operate another dispensary in Abbotsford. Nevertheless, the justice decided the case should proceed.
February’s ruling, however, did not include any decision on the costs of the proceedings.