Tilray, medicinal marijuana company based in Nanaimo, was fined for cutting down trees without permit in May. (News Bulletin file)

Tilray, medicinal marijuana company based in Nanaimo, was fined for cutting down trees without permit in May. (News Bulletin file)

Tilray fined $50K for illegal tree cutting

Medicinal marijuana company reaches plea order with City of Nanaimo

Tilray will pay a $50,000 fine after illegally cutting down trees on its Duke Point site last May.

The medicinal marijuana company was charged with five counts of cutting down trees without permit and its legal counsel, along with City of Nanaimo counsel, were in court Wednesday when the fine was handed down.

Christy Zhou, Tilray’s counsel, said the trees were cut down because of Tilray’s expansion project.

“We were in the process of getting permits for it and we had assumed that the permits were already received and we’ve cut down some trees prematurely,” said Zhou. “Since then we’ve gone through the permitting process, but because we were, technically, in contravention of the bylaws, we entered the order with the city.”

Troy DeSouza, legal counsel for the city, said Tilray committed an infraction under a city tree protection bylaw. The fine amounts to $10,000 per count. An agreement, or plea order, had been reached prior to the court date, he said.

“In any criminal prosecution, you can have a plea. People enter the plea, which is guilty in these counts, and then the fine amount we determine in advance is what it is,” said DeSouza. “So when we come to court, both counsel, we have this joint sentencing submission, which is in the form of the order. The court will look at that, the court will determine whether it’s reasonable within the law and if the court so agrees, it will sign on to the order.”

Zhou said Tilray will pay the $50,000 in instalments.

The offences took place May 30.

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