Mounties Raid Vancouver Dispensaries, Confusion Persists Over B.C. Cannabis Laws

As Canada’s newly-elected liberal government prepares to legalize cannabis, municipalities are struggling to deal with a lack of guidelines regarding how to regulate the drug in the meantime, The Globe and Mail reports.

Mounties in Nanaimo, B.C. raided three dispensaries Tuesday after alleged complaints that the stores were selling to minors, advertising on the street and selling marijuana to people who lacked a medical prescription.

Bill McKay, mayor of the Vancouver Island city, said he has no control over the Mounties, but argued that the Canadian government needed to “get off their keister” and create guidelines for the municipalities, many of which are dealing with an increase in illegal cannabis sales.

Alex Robb, who spoke on behalf of the Trees dispensary, a chain whose store that was among those raided in Nanaimo, said in a statement that the raid went against “both scientific and public opinion,” and that “we do not believe that any of our employees will be convicted of any crime.”

McKay said that city staff should report after Christmas regarding whether to introduce local bylaws regulating pot shops, as Vancouver did in June to cover medical dispensaries. Port Alberni and Victoria are considering similar steps.

“The mainstream medical profession are sorely lacking in knowledge [about the federal medical marijuana system],” the mayor said. “The folks running the dispensaries are sorely lacking in credentials and doing the best they can on a trial-and-error basis. In the meantime, municipalities, patients and the RCMP are caught in the middle.”

Photo Credit: Jamie McCaffrey

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