Pot shop owner vows to stay open in Abbotsford even if city wins in court

City files for an injunction against dispensary chain owner

  • Mar. 17, 2016 7:00 p.m.
Don Briere

Don Briere

By Kelvin Gawley

The City of Abbotsford is seeking an injunction to shut down another pot shop and ban its owner from the city, but the owner, Don Briere, says he will keep the store open, no matter how the judge rules.

The city filed the request on Tuesday against Mary Jane’s Glass and Gifts on South Fraser Way, as well as ban Briere from opening any similar businesses in the future.

Briere, who owns over a dozen dispensaries in B.C. and Ontario, was denied a business licence by the city, which requires compliance with all Canadian laws. Legislation passed by the previous Conservative government and still on the books states all medical marijuana must be bought and sold directly from Health Canada and delivered by mail. Last month, the Supreme Court overturned the law’s provisions banning homegrown marijuana, although it gave the governing Liberals six  months to write a new law.

Abbotsford Mayor Henry Braun said he is not opposed to medical marijuana and that it is merely a matter of legality.

“We have an obligation as a local government to uphold laws, otherwise you have chaos,” said Braun.

This week’s filing follows a similar injunction the city won in B.C. Supreme Court in January against another shop owned by Briere, Weeds Gifts and Glass, on Clearbrook Avenue.

“We have to do them one at time, unfortunately,” said Braun.

Briere argues that his patients need to inspect and browse different variants and forms of pot in-person before they buy.

Weeds closed down soon after the city won the injunction but Briere claims the closure was an act of good faith and not a direct result of the ruling.

“We want to work with the community,” he said.

Braun said that the city is using bylaw enforcement to fight the dispensary now, but if the injunction is won and still disobeyed, the police wouldlikely become involved.

Briere if that were to happen he would stand in front of the store, willing to be arrested. He said Abbotsford medical marijuana patients need his products and that the city is enforcing laws which are “based on lies.”

Briere said that once he got into a courtroom with the city, his opponents would look like “buffoons.”

“The amount of resources they’re putting into this [legal battle] is a humongous waste of tax resources,” said Briere.