In October of 2008, the Medicinal Cannabis Dispensary (TMCD), located at 880 East Hastings, became the third cannabis hub to open its doors in Vancouver.
Today, it will be ceasing all sales of cannabis until further notice.
Late last year, nine unlicensed and longstanding dispensaries challenged the City of Vancouver in a test case, arguing its licensing and zoning development bylaws are unconstitutional. In December, B.C. Supreme Court Justice Hinkson ruled in favour of the city and ordered the stores to halt operations.
After the decision, the group filed an appeal and a request for a stay until the decision was made. That stay was denied on Friday (May 31), meaning the nine Vancouver dispensaries must close immediately or face penalties.
Last night (June 4), owner of TMCD and cannabis activist Dana Larsen announced he was going to close one of his locations to comply with the decision.
Larsen posted the announcement on Facebook.
“I had pledged to keep our dispensary open as long as we could, and I had considered continuing to operate with just me working the front desk and taking any legal risks upon myself,” he writes. “But after long conversations with our legal counsel Jack Lloyd, we have decided that the best way for us to continue serving our members is to close the 880 East Hastings location for now.”
The store was open until 11:00 a.m. today to provide customers a final opportunity to purchase cannabis. The shelves were cleared of all produce and doors reopened at noon to operate as an information and harm reduction centre.
“When the Blue Door Dispensary shut down temporarily last week, it caused an increase in violence and overdoses in the area. Some said they didn’t have the cannabis they were used to and went back to old habits and found drugs that are dirtier this year and causing substantial issues,” says the executive director of TMCD, Dori Dempster, to a Cannabis Life Network reporter.
“I fear this same result because of the decision [to close the dispensary] made in the greater interest of serving our members for as long as we possibly can. We desperately need more overdose prevention sites but this city has just effectively shuttered dozens of these harm reduction sites like TMCD.”
The closure only affects TMCD on East Hastings. The second location on Thurlow Street will remain open.
“Our dispensary at 1182 Thurlow St and Davie in the West End remains legally open with a development permit, and continues to provide affordable access to the same medicinal-grade cannabis while we are in the process of applying for provincial municipal permits there,” clarifies Larsen.