You read that correctly. If you want to operate pedicabs in Victoria, you must enter a lottery to get a license. The number of pedicabs allowed by the city is LIMITED to 46. However, if you want to open a pot shop, just do it. There is no limit on the number of pot shops.
So, pedicabs number 46, while at last count, I believe there are about 40 pot shops now in Victoria with that number growing weekly
Pedicabs are allowed in Victoria to create a “quaint, tourist friendly atmosphere”. Pot shops are here so people can get high, and they are anything but quaint or attractive. Yet pedicabs are limited and pot shops are not. Does this make sense to you?
Lisa Helps has a different opinion than I
Here is a Tweet from her on September 17
She went on to explain in another Tweet that all pot shops would be put on notice that they must apply for city licenses, effective September 23. She pointed out to me that no pot shop can be within 200 metres of a school or another pot shop. Therefore, she said that this “separation zone” limits the number of pot shops just as pedicabs are limited.
That seems to me to be an odd way to place a limit on the number of shops. If serious about limiting the number of pot shops, why not simply place a numerical limit on them as she did with pedicabs?
Unless Victoria closes all existing pot shops it is headed for a legal disaster
Let’s look at three possible scenarios here.
Peter Pot owns a pot shop. It is located 100 metres from Wendell Weed’s weed shop. They each apply to the city for a dispensary license. However, in keeping with the new bylaws, the city only allows one of them to have a license.
Now, no matter to which of the two the city awards the license, the other will find a reason to sue. They might do so based on the city passing bylaws after it had allowed the pot shop to open and to be in business for “X” amount of time, or for other reasons.
This time Harold Hash’s hash shop is 195 metres from a school. If the city tries to close it, it will be sued. One of any number of reasons might be that the 200 metre rule is “Arbitrary” and based on no rational logic.
If the city bends at all on any of those three pot shops, it has entered the “Slippery Slope”. These are just two of the ways that all the pot shops will fight the new bylaws in court. Then of course, there is a third scenario.
How do you measure the 200 metres? Look at the illustration. The bylaw is not clear cut. And I haven’t even included the possibility of a diagonal measurement.
If you think for even a moment that these pot shops will just knuckle under to the city’s wishes, then you believe criminals will obey the law. That’s a pipe dream. These pot shop aren’t going anywhere and the lawsuits against the city are coming.
There is just too much money to be lost
Consequently, no pot shop owner will simply walk away and give up the opportunity to get rich. None will go down without a fight.
First come – First served won’t save the day either
The City of Victoria’s announcement that it will order closure of dispensaries that are out of compliance on September 23 won’t stop the lawsuits. Nor will it’s announced “first come – first served” policy regarding licensing pot shops which are too close to one another.
That solution does not address the “arbitrary rule” problems outlined in Scenario Two. Additionally, it does not solve the geography problem in Scenario Three.
The city can considerably improve its legal position
To do so, it must close down all existing pot shops. In this way, the city neutralizes the three scenarios above. As well, it renders ineffective any ‘favoritism” scenario which some bright lawyer might dream up.
To be sure, there will be lawsuits. But those who sue will be in a much weaker legal position. After all, they were all violating the law. Additionally, they did so without a business license authorizing the sale of pot.
It will not just be the criminals who run retail shops funding these lawsuits. No. Additionally, there will be the criminals behind the grow ops. The city will be fighting pot shop money, gang money and biker money.
These pot shops are with us for a long time unless an effective weapon is brought to bear against them
The city might order this pot shop or that pot shop to close, but the shop will simply refuse as some Nanaimo pot shops have done. Some shops will fight the city in court on their own, as Canna Mall has already threatened. Other shops will form a union with one another and take the city to court as a group as is happening in Vancouver.
Bylaw infractions will not be effective by themselves. Bylaws didn’t drive the Devils Army out of Langford and they won’t bring about the closure of any pot shops
Of course, none of this takes into account the potential for violence from a gang controlled pot shop if one of them demands his nearby competitor not apply for a license.
We need to bring out the big guns and do three things
- The city should issue closure notices to all pot shops
- RCMP and/or VicPD should come in and ask the crown to lay federal charges
- B.C. Civil Forfeiture should initiate seizure proceedings against any shops that refuse to close
Drugs and money together invite violence
Here is the result of pot shops in Victoria. According to Stats Canada, Victoria had the third highest crime increase in Canada. Just since these pot shops starting opening here there have been three armed robberies of them. Additionally, there have been two armed home invasions. This not include the various assaults and stabbings which have increased.
Weapons are assured
It’s really simple people. The banks won’t allow these pot shops to have accounts. So, the money they make is in the store or in their home. Additionally, the pot shops don’t have insurance. No insurance company will cover them. Oh sure, they probably have a safe, but that’s why the crook has a gun.
“Open the safe, or else…” So here you are as a pot shop owner. You are immersed in the criminal world. You buy your product from criminals and you have been selling an illegal product for at least a year.
Do you have something to protect yourself with? Or are you just going to allow whatever creep walks in to take the food from your kid’s table?
In the criminal world, if you allow yourself to be a victim you lose street creds. Once you lose those creds, you will be re-victimized over and over again. So, even if you don’t actually have a weapon on site, you have some backup. You have a way to send a message. And trust me here, that message is not a singing telegram
Lisa Helps and city counsel have emptied a tube of toothpaste and are now trying to force it back in the tube. It is doable, but it will take at least one or two years.
Finally, please do not lose sight of the fact that while Lisa Helps calls them medicinal dispensaries, these pot shops are really just illegal businesses designed to get people high, like Farmacy Victoria.