NewsRegional News Three dispensaries granted permission to stay open without penalty SHARE ON: Alex Skultety, staff Friday, Dec. 14th, 2018 Some of Nelson’s medical cannabis dispensaries are hoping to stay open into the new year. Three dispensaries are still in operation and council has voted not to impose penalties if they don’t close their doors after December 31, which is when their business licenses expire. The business license doesn’t protect them from provincial or police enforcement; however, Jim Leslie with The Kootenay’s Medicine Tree explains they could have been facing penalties from the City. “Anyone who had contravened any city bylaws, which staying open without a business license would be doing, that anyone who did that would basically lose 20 points off their application and that would essentially put them out of the running for a retail license in the city of Nelson.” Leslie, along with other Nelson dispensaries are in the process of applying for a provincial non-medical cannabis retail license and are hoping to be granted one of five municipals license to operate in Nelson, which the points system will be used to determine. City staff did raise some concern with the decision saying it could be perceived as unfair to other applicants who have deliberately complied with the City’s bylaws in order to avoid penalty, such as the Green Room. Council ultimately granted the approval with little discussion. Leslie feels that the new council showed compassion and humanity by allowing patients to continue accessing medicines. The dispensaries intend to stay open until they are required by the Province to close prior to their site inspection, which is expect to occur by February 2019.