Canadian dispensary update

The latest big news in Canadian dispensaries as of Sept. 23, 2017

West Kelowna

West Kelowna has been fairly tolerant of dispensaries, allowing them to operate with implied approval, despite not introducing regulations to license them. With six dispensaries now in West Kelowna, the city is looking at revamping their by-law fines for operating without a license, and future regulations under legalization that would restrict cannabis retail activities to industrial areas.

Grand Forks

Grand Forks is no stranger to Cannabis controversy, starting in 1999 when then mayor Bryan Taylor declared his intention of making the town the ‘medical marijuana capital of the world’.

Flash forward to 2017, and Mr Taylor’s daughter Theresa was still fighting a years-long battle to have her dispensary, Herbivore, regulated by the city, or at the very least, be given the same consideration as the city’s only other dispensary in town, which seemed to be operating with city approval.

In July, council decided to rehear Herbivore’s license application, but after an hour long debate, narrowly decided that they would not follow in the footsteps of municipalities using bylaw rather than criminal enforcement.

Nova Scotia

With the remarkable explosion in the number of dispensaries in Nova Scotia,  it probably isn’t surprising this was followed by multiple raids. It also isn’t surprising this was followed by re-openings. While the community of Bible Hill alone saw three dispensary raids, they “ were open right after they left,” according to Ashley Brown of Maritime Medicinal.

Still, the raids continue, with two more in Pictou County executed on September 8th.


Lawyer Jack Lloyd estimates there is still at least one dispensary raid a week happening in Toronto. In spite of this, with pretty much just google maps and photo ID, cannabis can be accessed through a dispensary in Toronto within minutes.

It remains to be seen what will come of Ontario’s announcement that it is getting into the dispensary game, but expect unions and business associations to push back. Private enterprise is not only an issue that both licensed producers and Dispensaries agree on, unions and even the Ontario Chamber of Commerce have expressed support.


Three dispensary raids were carried out in the last week of August. While it was initially reported that a haul of heroin, cocaine, oxycodone, and codeine were associated with one of the dispensaries, the story was later edited to note that this was not so, stating the information provided by police was incorrect.

Five staff members are facing charges as a result of the raids.

Hamilton, ON

A city injunction intended to close both a vape lounge and a dispensary was half granted at the end of August, with the city only granting permission to shutter the vape lounge. The ruling by Justice Lofchik of the Ontario Superior Court of Justice sided with comments in the Allard ruling, and ordered that the dispensary can remain open, as long as it only serves patients with a medical prescription.

Featured image by Get Budding.

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