Even though the Nova Scotia Court of Appeal rejected his appeal on Tuesday, Mal McMeekin vowed to keep fighting for a business occupancy permit for his medical marijuana dispensary.
“I’m disappointed,” said McMeekin, owner of Tasty Budd’s outside the courtroom. “We’re going to keep fighting the fight until we are where we need to be.”
McMeekin first applied for a permit with the Halifax Regional Municipality (HRM) in February 2016. It was rejected because of current marijuana laws.
He then turned to the Nova Scotia Utility and Review Board (NSUARB), who rejected his appeal. He ended up taking the case to the Court of Appeal.
Alexander MacKillop, McMeekin’s lawyer, argued in court Tuesday that determining the legality of a business is not the NSUARB’s jurisdiction.
The lawyer also said the NSUARB failed to consider non-drug-related sales from Tasty Budd’s.
Roxanne MacLaurin, lawyer for the Halifax Regional Municipality, said the appeal was not a productive use of time.
“This appeal borders on frivolous,” she told the court.
In a unanimous decision, the three justices on the Appeal Court rejected McMeekin’s appeal and concluded his business is still illegal.
They also rejected MacLaurin’s suggestion that the appellant be responsible for court costs.
MacKillop and McMeekin want to keep fighting. Their only recourse would be to have their case heard by the Supreme Court of Canada. First, they need to determine if they have grounds for appeal.
McMeekin said it is important for his business to stay open because he is providing medicine to people who really need it.
“It’s a fight I feel very strongly about,” said MacKillop outside of court. “I’ve seen people on their deathbed and I’ve seen marijuana bring them back from that.”
MacKillop said he will continue to provide legal aid to people like McMeekin, so medical marijuana patients can have reasonable access to their medicine. Currently patients have to go through a mail-order system to legally obtain their medicine.
“I’ve told these guys that I’ll be there for them every step of the way to help them fight the fight,” MacKillop said.
Tasty Budd’s operates in Sackville, Fall River, Bedford and Cole Harbour, and McMeekin said he has no plans on closing any of these locations.