The doors are open, but the shelves are still empty.
The New Innovations In Cannabis Education (N.I.C.E.) medical marijuana dispensary at 907A 12th St. is open from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m., seven days a week.
Potential clients and some curious passersby drop in regularly, but only for information, as there is still no marijuana on site.
Since last summer, three staff members have been on hand to answer the phone and chat with potential clients.
Justin Cleveland, president of the West Coast Green Light Society, which runs the dispensary, says the reason the shop hasn't stocked its shelves has nothing to do with the fact that neither the city nor the police have voiced their approval.
"We still try and contact (the city) but it just doesn't look like they're going to really want to be directly involved and really have an input. So, as far as it stands, (it's) just internal things, and trying to make sure everything's ready," he said, referring to the set-up inside the shop.
Cleveland said he will not apply for a business licence because he suggested that, as a non-profit, the society does not require a licence to operate, and he noted no other city or police force with a medical marijuana dispensary has officially condoned the operation.
"We're never going to get anything from the city," Cleveland said of New Westminster.
"They're never going to say, 'Yeah, you're allowed to do what you do.' No city has done that."
New Westminster city councillor Chuck Puchmayr said council members got a briefing from the New West police chief at a recent council meeting, which stated this type of medical marijuana dispensary should not be permitted.
"If they tried to open, the city would probably end up taking them to court," Puchmayr said of the society's plans to start dispensing medical marijuana.
However, Puchmayr noted Cleveland would be within his rights to seek legal council to challenge the city's current regulations around medical marijuana possession and distribution.
"If the Supreme Court of Canada rules that we have to (allow) it, then I don't know; we'd either buck that or we'd proceed with it, but he's a long way from that."
Puchmayr said regardless of whether the West Coast Green Light Society is able to proceed with its plans to offer medical marijuana, he believes further discussion amongst city policy-makers would be beneficial.
"I don't want it (to be) seen as some-thing that's very simple to get," he said. "But I do also want to see that people with serious, serious illness that have positive impacts using medical marijuana - I want to see the ability for that to continue."
So far, about 30 people have filled out the necessary paperwork to become members in order to have access to the products once they become available, Cleveland said.
The dispensary's website states the purpose of the non-profit 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 N.I.C.E. will require authorization from a doctor or Health Canada, as well as becoming a member of the society.
Cleveland said he has no set timeline for when he expects the dispensary will begin full operations.