Pubdate: Sat, 16 Jan 2016
Source: Toronto Sun (CN ON)
Copyright: 2016 Canoe Limited Partnership
Author: Jenny Yuen
Page: 3


Dispensary Crackdown Urged

They're not just blowing smoke.

Canada's licensed medical marijuana producers are calling on the 
federal government to put an end to illegal marijuana dispensaries 
across the country.

The Canadian Medical Cannabis Industry Association, which represents 
the 27 cannabis producers licensed and inspected by Health Canada, 
says these dispensaries - 100 in Vancouver and nearly 50 in Toronto 
alone - have sprouted up aggressively over the past year or so and 
put public safety in danger.

"The situation is getting out of control," the association's 
executive director, Colette Rivet, said in a statement. "In the past 
few months, more than 30 dispensaries have opened in Toronto, selling 
illegal, unregulated marijuana to people, many of whom are not aware 
that they are breaking the law."

Rivet is concerned products sold at dispensaries come from unknown 
sources without quality control, no guarantee they don't contain 
contaminants, no product recall system, and no interest "in properly 
protecting the interests of legitimate medical cannabis patients.

"It's time for the federal government to step in and bring clarity to 
the situation, by clearly explaining the legal status of medical and 
non-medical cannabis, and stopping the rapid spread of illegal 
marijuana stores," Rivet said. "The current environment of 
uncertainty is benefiting criminal organizations, which is counter to 
the federal government's stated policy of divorcing cannabis 
production and distribution from criminal elements." B.C. Supreme 
Court justice Paul Walker ruled earlier this week that operating a 
marijuana dispensary is illegal, and granted the City of Abbotsford 
an injunction to shut down a dispensary.

A spokesman from the Department of Justice Canada said it would be 
premature to speculate on what the upcoming legalization of marijuana 
will look like and until then, existing laws remain in force.

"(Dispensaries) sell untested products that may be unsafe and of 
particular risk to kids," said spokesman Ian McLeod. "They are 
supplied by illegal growers. These are exactly the concerns that the 
government's plans will address."
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