Chilliwack council is deciding Tuesday afternoon whether to revoke the business licence of WeeMedical Wellness after it starting selling marijuana illegally again in downtown Chilliwack.
The business licence approved by City of Chilliwack in June had one very specific condition: that WeeMedical was not authorized to sell “cannabis or cannabis derivatives” from its storefront location on Fifth Avenue.
A similar illegal dispensary operation under a slightly different name had already been raided and shut down twice last year.
The WeeMedical Wellness business licence was supposed to authorize the retail sale of gluten-free organic and vegan foods, and accessories related to medical cannabis.
A written complaint from a “concerned citizen” received by city hall on Nov. 23 stated that cannabis was again being illegally sold from the downtown commercial building leased by WeeMedical. That complaint led to the subsequent site inspection by city bylaw staff and RCMP officers.
More than 51 ounces of marijuana, 6.95 ounces of hash and an array of cannabis infused products were seized by RCMP in December, according to the staff report.
The latest report also includes this substantiation for revoking the licence:
“Given the sale of medical marijuana is not permitted at this location and is in contravention of the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act as well as the City’s Zoning and Business Licence Bylaws, it is recommended the business licence be cancelled.”
Last year the dispensary was raided several times by RCMP and bylaw enforcement, and the city sought a court injunction to keep them shuttered, when the business was called WeeMedical Dispensary Society, and the owners were fined $44,000.
WeeMedical spokesperson May Joan Liu, was provided with the staff report prepared for council’s consideration, and will be offered the chance to address council at city hall on Tuesday afternoon, before it makes a final decision.
Liu told The Progress last year she had no intention of paying the $44,000 in fines.
WeeMedical officials tried to defy the ‘no occupancy’ order in 2016 and reopen in what they called an act of civil disobedience.
They posted a notice that said: “It is sad that Chilliwack city officials seem to criminalize all of those who are associated with WeeMedical in a situation where there are no victims and only beneficiaries.”
Chilliwack mayor Sharon Gaetz said at the time that she’ll be happy when “this fight is over” in a broad sense. It’s become quite a quandary for many communities, struggling in the absence of a new regulatory framework for medical marijuana.
“Municipalities are in a state of disarray without the rules in place for this,” she said.
So when and if it all becomes regulated, it will be a relief, said the mayor.
In Vancouver, city officials moved to shut down all of its illegal dispensaries last spring.