22 MMJ Dispensaries Shut in Vancouver, Others Vow Legal Fight

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The Canadian city of Vancouver launched its crackdown on unlicensed medical marijuana dispensaries, with 22 storefronts agreeing to close and city inspectors ticketing 44 others that defied an order to do so, according to Canadian press reports.

Vancouver became the country’s first city last year to issue regulations governing MMJ dispensaries, which are illegal under federal law. It balked at issuing licenses to about about 140 dispensaries because of rule violations, such as locating too close to a school.

City officials said they will continue enforcing the new regulations, including ticketing unlicensed dispensaries that refuse to close. Fines are $250 per day for every day a dispensary stays open illegally.

Dispensaries have complained the new regulations are unfair and are expected to mount legal challenges to stay open, according to the Vancouver Courier.

A city official noted that police weren’t involved in any of the closures or ticketing.

City regulators have received 176 dispensary license applications from both existing dispensaries and entrepreneurs hoping to open new ones.

Through early April, six dispensaries had been approved for development permits and another 17 were under various stages of review and would likely be approved, according to Paul Pedersen of Greywood Partners, a consulting firm, who said he got the numbers from a city licensing official.