At the New Innovations In Cannabis Education medical marijuana dispensary at 907A 12th Street, the sign on the door reads, "The N.I.C.E. Dispensary is currently open as an info centre, no medicinal products on site. Please feel free to come in for more info on the many benefits and uses of cannabis."
Through the window, it is evident the retail space is set up to receive visitors, with information on the walls and a reception desk at the back.
But the door is padlocked during the business hours posted on the organization's website.
One man waited outside the building on Tuesday morning, looking frustrated.
"I was hoping to get some medicine marijuana," said Douglas College student, Tom Morison, who says he usually gets his medicinal marijuana from a dispensary in Vancouver, but is looking forward to being able to simply walk up the street from the college.
At London Eye Centre across the street from the dispensary, general manager Michael Johnson said he is taking a "wait and see" attitude to opening of the dispensary, but is not concerned that medicinal marijuana may soon be sold there.
"Twelfth Street obviously has a history over the years of things like prostitution and drug users and crime and that type of thing and we've been here for nearly 30 years, so, quite frankly, anything that that particular business might bring in is probably quite a bit less harmful than what we see on a day-to-day basis with the general population," he said.
According to the N.I.C.E. website, the dispensary is owned and operated by the West Coast Green Light Society, a registered non-profit organization.
An email sent Sept. 1 by Justin Cleveland, president of the society, to the West End Residents' Association, states the society has not yet begun dispensing medical marijuana, but has its doors open to "provide the community with an opportunity to come in and have any questions or concerns they may have regarding the dispensary addressed."
Elmer Rudolph, president of the association, said he responded to Cleveland's email on Sept. 10 to request more information, but has not heard back.
"So I don't know what the situation is at this place," he said. "We got an email saying they're open, but they're not open. - So at this point I'd say I have absolutely no opinion because I know absolutely nothing about it."
The society did not return any calls or respond to The Record by press deadline.
According to New Westminster city licensing manager Keith Coueffin, the society has not yet applied for a business licence.
Coueffin said in an email to The Record that he believes the proposed business violates the Criminal Code and that the Green Light Society has been asked to consult with New Westminster police before applying to the city.
"The proposed location is being monitored closely to ensure the proposed business does not start operating without a business licence," Coueffin wrote.
The dispensary's website states the purpose of the society is to, "educate and inform the public about the various uses of cannabis while advocating for the safe availability of medical cannabis to people with a legitimate medical need."
Purchasing medical marijuana from the dispensary will require authorization from a doctor or Health Canada, as well as becoming a member of the society, the website states.