The City of Kelowna successfully stopped a downtown skateboard shop from selling cannabis Wednesday, at least for now.
On June 12, the city served Bobby Kennedy, co-owner of the Bakery Boardshop at 1561 Pandosy St., with a petition to stop selling cannabis and to stop operating an unlicensed business.
The selling of medical cannabis out of a storefront is federally illegal for now, but some cities, like Vancouver, have chosen to licence some dispensaries regardless. Kelowna is not one of those cities.
In court Wednesday, Kennedy admitted to selling cannabis out of the storefront but said 90 per cent of the store is dedicated to selling skateboarding merchandise. The store’s website reads: “Kelowna’s only downtown skateshop and dispensary.”
In a response to the city’s petition, Kennedy said he has been specifically targeted due to a “political vendetta.” While Kennedy did not elaborate in his response and didn’t respond to Castanet’s request for comment by publication, he did run for Kelowna City Council in 2014.
“The City of Kelowna is trying to enforce the RCMP to take a standing on the matter which they have clearly not had an issue with,” Kennedy wrote in his response.
He also points to Canadians having the right to access medicine, and says the “illicit drug epidemic in the streets,” pointing to Leon Avenue, is the “real problem.”
“For the first seven years (of the Bakery’s operation), I would say the clientele would vary anywhere from 10 to 30, but the clientele now is very much people who need the medicine,” Kennedy said in court Wednesday. “One of our clients is a lady who’s 74-years-old … (she suffers from) extreme fibromyalgia and she comes in to get a brownie.”
Kennedy asked the court for an extra 30 days to allow him to find a lawyer. He argued he has had a business licence for the Bakery Boardshop for the past eight years, and has paid for a 2018 business licence, but Elizabeth Anderson, counsel for the City of Kelowna, told the court the Bakery Boardshop does not have a valid 2018 business licence.
Anderson contended that adjourning Wednesday’s court date on the condition that Kennedy does not sell cannabis out of the storefront would put an unnecessary burden on the city’s bylaw officers to enforce the condition.
Justice Miriam Gropper ultimately granted Kennedy a two-week adjournment to secure a lawyer, on the promise to stop selling cannabis. He’s expected back in court on July 23.
Canada is expected to federally legalize cannabis on Oct. 17, and on Wednesday, the provincial government announced plans to open the first government-run recreational dispensary in Kamloops.
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