Cannabis company files court petition against City of Grand Forks

The petition argues that the City’s decision to not grant a variance was ‘unreasonable’ and ‘invalid’

A cannabis company is hoping to take the City of Grand Forks to court over the denial of a zoning variance permit that would have allowed Weeds Glass & Gifts to operate a retail cannabis store at 7500 Donaldson Dr.

On Aug. 14, Weeds Glass & Gifts filed a petition with the Supreme Court of British Columbia that claims, among other things, that “the decision of the [City] to deny [Weeds’s] development variance permit application is invalid for lack of procedural fairness.”

The petition also alleges that council’s decision to deny Weeds’s application was coloured by the building’s use as a warming centre, which, the petitioners say, was “a heated issue with the City and created a bias in the council members’ [sic] decision, even though it should have been a factor unrelated to the decision and the report decision.”

The decision being disputed was made by council on July 15, when members voted 4-3 to deny the variance. Couns. Zak Eburne-Stoodley, Christine Thompson, Rod Zielinski and Cathy Korolek voted to deny; Mayor Brian Taylor and Couns. Neil Krog and Chris Moslin voted to approve.

Grand Forks city bylaws state that a cannabis retail store cannot operate within 100 metres of a “community use” zone, such as James Donaldson Park. The prospective location is within 40 metres of the park’s perimeter.

While Weeds indicates in the petition that the decision to deny the development variance permit “has resulted in a lack of reasonable access to cannabis in the City for people who rely on it for medical purposes […],” the petition does not acknowledge that there are three other retail cannabis stores that have already been approved by the City of Grand Forks and are currently waiting on provincial licensing.

As such, these three other outlets are further along in the permitting process than Weeds would have been, had council approved the development variance permit.

The City of Grand Forks acknowledged Thursday that “the City’s legal counsel is currently reviewing the petition,” but said that it could not comment on the situation “as the matter is currently the subject of litigation.”

The City has 21 days to respond, meaning that by Sept. 4 (the day after the next council meeting), its reply will have to be submitted to the Supreme Court of British Columbia.

more to come.

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