Halifax seeks Supreme Court order to shut down cannabis dispensary

Halifax is taking a cannabis dispensary to the Nova Scotia Supreme Court in a bid to shut it down permanently.

The Halifax Regional Municipality filed a request with the court on Friday in hopes of stopping Canna Clinic, which is operated by numbered company 9963022 Canada Ltd., from “selling, dispensing or storing cannabis or permitting the sale, dispensing or storage of cannabis” at its storefront on Dresden Row.

According to court documents reviewed by Global News, the municipality is also looking to prevent Canna Clinic’s landlord, another numbered company known as 3230813 Nova Scotia Ltd., from carrying out the same activities.

An affidavit filed by HRM compliance officer Rob Coolen in support of the municipality’s request indicates that Halifax has been investigating Canna Clinic since Jan. 19, 2017, when they first received a complaint that cannabis was being sold at 1593 Dresden Row.

Coolen states in the affidavit that the business does not have the proper permits to be operating as a commercial business and that he notified the business of the issue. The landlord even sent eviction notices to Canna Clinic on Jan. 31, 2017 and March 1, 2017.

It’s not clear why, but the court documents indicate that the dispensary continued operating despite the eviction notice.

As a result, charges were laid against the landlord and Canna Clinic under the municipality’s downtown land use bylaw.

Both companies pleaded guilty in May 2018 to operating a business without a development permit. That case is still awaiting sentencing, but the municipality says that recent inspections indicate Canna Clinic continues to sell cannabis from the store.

It’s not the first time the municipality has taken a cannabis dispensary to the province’s Supreme Court in an attempt to force the business to close its doors.

In May, Halifax sought a court order to shut down Coastal Cannapy Inc. for operating without a business permit. The city was eventually successful.

The court documents filed in support of the municipality’s attempts to close Canna Clinic cite the similarity of the Coastal Cannapy case.

The city stresses that its court filing is not about about access to cannabis.

“Respectfully, this application is about land use,” writes Jim Janson, HRM’s legal counsel.

“This is not about the cannabis regulations or access to cannabis.”

The provincial government has determined the Nova Scotia Liquor Corporation is the only company permitted to sell and dispense cannabis.

When reached on Monday, the municipality offered a one-line statement in response to the court filing.

“If these storefronts decide to operate without the appropriate permits, we will continue to ask the courts to order them closed,” it read.

Canna Clinic and 3230813 Nova Scotia Ltd. have yet to file a response regarding the suit, and the allegations have yet to be tested in court.

The municipality’s application will be heard by a judge in chambers on Nov. 14.

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