Former pot purveyor in North Vancouver slapped with top fine for 21 bylaw offences

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The owner of a North Vancouver cannabis retail store who faced 21 municipal bylaw offences has received the maximum fine of $252,000.

Kevin Anderson, who previously owned The Herban Art Collective, reportedly flouted municipal rules for years, according to North Shore News.

Despite not having either provincial or municipal licences to set up shop, he continued to operate the store at two different locations — the landlords for both terminated his lease, the latter after a search warrant was executed — for three years. He advertised the cannabis products he was selling as either “organic” or “craft” on Instagram, Facebook and a website.

Fed up with issuing warnings and tickets that had little effect, municipal bylaw charges citing almost two-dozen breaches of city bylaws were sworn.

Anderson pleaded guilty last fall to numerous counts of operating a business without a licence and using a premise for a purpose not allowed under city bylaws, North Shore News reports.

This week, he was sentenced. Judge Joanne Challenger of B.C.’s provincial court ordered that he pay the maximum fine of $252,000. The money is to go to the City of North Vancouver and Anderson has been banned from working in or being involved in any unlicensed cannabis retail store for a year.

Judge Challenger argued top fines were warranted given Anderson’s blatant and ongoing disregard for the law and to push back against anyone who might consider municipal fines “the cost of doing business.”

Although Anderson’s lawyer had argued his client was operating as a “compassion club” and not for profit, Judge Challenger cited past comments that business was “brisk” and a photo of a McLaren luxury car posted on the Herban Instagram account in 2016, although she made clear that could not be considered proof of making a profit.

Anderson’s lawyer also told the court that he had no money to pay any fines, according to North Shore News. But Judge Challenger appeared unconvinced, opting to order the maximum fine.

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