I was browsing Twitter this morning and noted that a local pot shop had closed. According to @VibrantVictoria, “Raven Herbal” closed due to a dispute with the landlord. It seems possible, if not probable, that the dispute is over the product being sold. Perhaps the landlord is opposed to weed. Or perhaps, the landlord is afraid of the civil forfeiture laws.
On second thought, maybe he didn’t like the element Raven Herbal was attracting. I guess there is also the possibility that his other tenants objected to the product or to those who frequented the shop to buy from it. Finally, perhaps it was something as simple as a rent increase. Or maybe, that’s how the landlord chose to frame the fight.
The sign in the window at Raven Herbal says that Chad and Maureen will still deliver. Allow me to give you two a warning
You had better have back up when you deliver because you don’t know if you are being set up to be robbed. Maybe somebody hopes you have a lot of cash, or maybe they just want free buds. Unless it is a repeat customer, you will have no idea. Don’t forget about the possibility of a vengeful rival business.
Furthermore, you should deliver in an old beater car. After all, delivering or selling weed is illegal. That being the case, BC Civil Forfeiture could seize your car as an instrument of crime.
Before getting into civil forfeiture, let’s make one thing perfectly clear. I am absolutely in favor of medical marijuana.
In my opinion medical marijuana has proven, and as of now, still unproven benefits. I believe it should be legal by prescription. And I believe the prescription should specify the allowable THC level.
Here is what needs to happen to end this current situation and stop criminal control of pot shops.
These shops need to be shut down immediately. That’s because they are illegal under current federal law. It is also because many are already criminally controlled. Additionally, most have no business license. And they run a healthcare scam with their pot and prescriptions.
The city is doing nothing and the police are powerless as they take orders from the city. Therefore, BC Civil Forfeiture should close Victoria pot shops
The BC Office of Civil Forfeiture needs to bring forfeiture proceedings against the owners of the properties that house these pot shops. These owners are allowing their property to be used to commit an ongoing crime. Accordingly, under the law, these properties can be seized.
With Victoria’s soaring real estate values, civil forfeiture actions could bring a financial windfall to the province
It’s not just single family homes going up in value, it is also commercial real estate. So this could be a huge financial benefit to the province. Additionally, it will send landlords a message. It will tell them that if they continue to allow these illegal businesses to operate out of their buildings, they will suffer significant financial losses.
Allow me to give landlords and property owners a dire warning
I know people who have had civil forfeiture proceeding brought against them. They just got served out of the blue with no inkling that it was going to occur.
As these lawsuits are civil in nature, they have a much lower “standard of proof”. These matters are adjudicated using the “greater than fifty percent” standard of proof. Don’t even think “proof beyond a reasonable doubt”. That standard is for criminal matters. Civil forfeiture, as the name states, is a civil matter.
In order to win, all the province has to show is that the activity occurring on the property is/was illegal, and that there is/was a better than equal probability that you knew it was occurring and was illegal.
Is it possible that the province could lose?
Absolutely, “Yes”! Is it likely, “No”. Either way though, you could be out $50,000, or $100,000, or even more defending your position.
You will have to give up control while you await the outcome of the lawsuit
The simple facts are that the province will petition the court long before a decision is rendered. In that petition it will say that it has a financial interest in your property. Therefore, it needs the court to protect its interest by placing certain controls and restrictions on you.
- It will definitely want you forbidden from encumbering the property in any manner. Therefore, collateral loans will be out of the question.
- Also, it will place restrictions on the sale or transfer of the property.
- It will want the right of inspection.
- Additionally, it might even seek to require that it has the right to determine to whom you are allowed to rent.
- Furthermore, you might be required to prove sources of income and other money.
If I was a landlord renting to a pot shop, I would talk to my lawyer to understand my risks. These types of civil actions can be very expensive to defend, and of course, even more expensive should you lose. And losing has a very high probability, especially considering the amount of money the government has to pursue its ends.
If you are a landlord who already has a lease agreement with a tenant who runs a pot shop on your property, IT IS UNENFORCEABLE. BREAK IT!
Any contract that requires a party thereto to break the law is not a valid contract. And no court will enforce it, not even BC’s liberal courts. Selling pot is against federal laws.
Don’t just take my word for all this though; talk to your lawyer, but do so before you find yourself a defendant in a civil forfeiture procedure.
Can you imagine the chilling effect the first civil forfeiture action will have on Victoria’s biker supplied pot shop industry? Suddenly pot shops will be as scarce as an honest man at a liar’s convention.
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