Marijuana dispensary owner plans on keeping store in Courtenay

Marijuana dispensary owner plans on keeping store in Courtenay

WATCH: Despite two raids by Comox Valley RCMP within the first month of opening, the owner of a marijuana dispensary in Courtenay says he’s not planning on closing it. Kendall Hanson reports. 

The doors of Courtenay’s first storefront cannabis dispensary were open Tuesday but not for business.

Inside, there’s no cannabis for sale and Leaf Compassion Dispensary says they won’t even sell a shirt until they get a business license.

But during the 15 days they were open, they say they quickly accumulated a lot of clients.

“I don’t quite want to say thousands but we did see a lot of people through here,” said Leaf Compassion employee Allison Zimmerman.

The RCMP has raided the Leaf dispensary on 4th Street twice: once on Oct. 5 and then again on Oct. 12.

After the second raid, late last week, its owner says they’ve decided to gather public support on a petition. He will take it to city hall for a planned meeting in November.

READ MORE: Courtenay pot shop raided again by police

“We want to fully have a license in the municipality of Courtenay,” said Kyle Cheyne, the owner of Leaf Compassion. “Obviously, it’s going to take some time.”

It may take more than some time according to Courtenay’s mayor, who says he’s heard from other business owners who believe everyone should have to pay for a business license.

That’s something the city doesn’t want to issue to dispensaries until there’s a legal framework set by the federal government and the province.

“Our instructions and we’ve had several meetings with the RCMP and we’ve had meetings with our senior staff and with our council is that basically until such time as it’s a legalized activity and we understand what the province is going to put in as far as rules or zoning requests etcetera, etcetera there’s no point in us moving forward with it,” said Courtenay Mayor Larry Jangula.

Jangula says he hopes cannabis sales will be controlled within the liquor distribution branch as it’s being rolled out in Ontario. He says he has little faith in the storefront dispensaries.

“We’re not sure that this type of dispensary is selling anything that’s even close to what is determined as being medical marijuana or approved or tested,” said Jangula. “We don’t even know what’s in that marijuana that these people are buying.”

“I’ve talked to lots of people in the municipality now and I haven’t gotten anything negative from people other than the mayor who’s really trying to fight back,” said Cheyne.

Leaf Compassion says all their product is tested. And the Courtenay raids won’t set them back forever as they have long-term plans in mind.

“Our goal is to continue moving forward,” said Cheyne. “If we have to wait for another council to come through and a different mayor than I’m willing to keep fighting it.”

Kendall HansonKendall Hanson

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