West Kelowna revokes marijuana business licenses

After they were originally granted business licences, two marijuana dispensaries in West Kelowna have lost that distinction.

At Tuesday's meeting, council was unanimous in its decision to revoke the licences for The Healing Company on Stevens Road, and Black Crow Herbals on Westgate Road.

The Healing Company's lawyer David Towill spoke on Tuesday and asked the city to delay the decision a few months, as provincial legalization legislation is right around the corner.

"What I'm suggesting is that this motion is better tabled, until we see what the province is going to do. Because if the province is going to allow private dispensary through some kind of regulated, wholesale market, we could see that legislation coming out in the next - who knows - two months, three months," he said.

Despite the pleas to keep them open, Councillor Bryden Winsby talked about having no other choice.

"We have to make it clear that this is not a statement whether we're for or against the legalization of marijuana, or whatever method is used to distribute it," he said.

"Things will be clarified by the province, and certainly more by the federal government, but until then, I think it behooves us to ensure that we are not condoning illegal activity."

That sentiment was echoed by council, and summed up in an exchange between Winsby and Towill.

"Would you consider this activity to be illegal?" asked Winsby.

"It's an interesting question," said Towill. "Is the activity in itself, in terms of how the supply goes to the patients, is it illegal by the letter of the law? Yes it is."

Most of West Kelowna's dispensaries had already operated without a licence, doing so as a non-profit organization.

City bylaws state that a business can be fined $500 per day, if it chooses to stay open while unlicensed.