Pubdate: Thu, 19 Nov 2015
Source: Nanaimo News Bulletin (CN BC)
Copyright: 2015, BC Newspaper Group
Author: Tamara Cunningham

Nanaimo's MP questions timing of police action


Nanaimo medical marijuana dispensaries will remain open, despite the
threat of police enforcement.

Medical marijuana dispensaries have reached out to government for
clarity on potential new regulations and help in the lead-up to a
deadline to stop selling marijuana. But dispensaries have no plans to
close, according to the new Nanaimo Cannabis Coalition.

"Our coalition has stated we will remain open =C2=85 because people need
their medicine," said Matthew O'Donnell, coalition spokesman.

Ten medical marijuana dispensaries were given notice last Thursday by
the Nanaimo RCMP to stop selling marijuana and marijuana derivatives
in seven days or they could face police enforcement, including the
arrest of employees and patrons.

No further questions are being answered by the Nanaimo RCMP, but in an
earlier e-mail spokesman Const. Gary O'Brien said action is related to
an ongoing commitment to public safety and to notify dispensaries
about the ramifications of non-compliance with the Controlled Drugs
and Substances Act.

Health Canada only licenses six B.C. producers, including Tilray, to
sell to registered, medically prescribed patients.

Still, local pot retailers have been openly selling bud, tinctures and
marijuana-infused edibles to Nanaimo customers, some for close to a

On Monday, O'Donnell appealed to Nanaimo city council to stand with
"thousands" of medical marijuana users and to ask the RCMP for a
cooling-off period while the new Liberal government decides how it
will legalize marijuana. The coalition will also lab test products to
medicinal standards and welcomes regulation, he said.

"How can our members, who suffer from cancer, chronic pain and serious
illness, be treated as criminals today knowing that in the coming
months any adult will be able to freely purchase and consume the same
product?" O'Donnell asked.

The coalition has also reached out to the provincial and federal
political representatives, including Nanaimo-Ladysmith MP Sheila
Malcolmson. City council made no motion to help the coalition.

Malcolmson said she's curious about the timing of police action, and
has called for a briefing from the Nanaimo RCMP, as well as a
conversation with Justice Minister Jody Wilson-Raybould.

"If the law is about to change =C2=85 this seems an unfortunate time to g
ahead and enforce the Conservative government rules," she said. "I am
concerned this is alarming medical marijuana patients unnecessarily
and it may be using public enforcement resources in an inefficient
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MAP posted-by: Matt