Pubdate: Fri, 08 Apr 2016
Source: Chilliwack Progress (CN BC)
Copyright: 2016 The Chilliwack Progress


The first medical marijuana dispensary to pop up in Chilliwack has now
been nipped in the bud.

A RCMP tactical team arrived at the WeeMedical shop on Fifth Avenue
just after 5 p.m. on Tuesday, during business hours. According to
various posts on social media, customers were in the store at the time
of the raid.

A No Occupancy order was posted on the door, and all signage was
removed from the building's windows and street front.

An employee who ran the shop, Shayli Vere, posted on the dispensary's
Facebook page on Wednesday, announcing that she had been held by
police in cells during the search, and subsequently released. She also
informed customers that she would be parting ways with WeeMedical, due
to the owner's "focus only on the profits made without proper pay or
support to their staff."

"It was a traumatic day, but I meditated in my cell knowing what I
personally was standing up for, you, was worth it," she wrote. "Please
let the papers, your city council and RCMP know what you think of
paying for nine armed RCMP with bulletproof vests raiding just little
me. I cooperated. I left WeeMedical but will continue to fight for the
cause as I am able."

Chilliwack RCMP said they received a report on March 11 of alleged
illegal cannabis sales on March 11, a week before the storefront opened.

"During the weeks following the report, officers of the Chilliwack
RCMP Crime Reduction Unit (CRU) conducted surveillance of the address
as they covertly gathered evidence in their investigation leading up
to the search," said Cpl. Mike Rail. Tuesday's raid was under the
Controlled Drug and Substance Act. They found drugs "believed by
police to be marijuana, store records, and cash," all of which were

Their investigation continues.

"Chilliwack CRU officers are continuing to pursue their CDSA
investigation of the transactions conducted by the store's
proprietors. After a thorough investigation has been completed, the
evidence collected will be reviewed by investigators to determine
whether police will be submitting all circumstances of the
investigation in a report to Federal Crown Counsel for their
assessment of Controlled Drug and Substance Act charges," said Rail.

WeeMedical was carrying medical marijuana and related products,
including cookies, brownies, candies. However, like all dispensaries
in Canada, they are not federal-government approved distributers. Some
municipalities, including Vancouver, have created regulatory
guidelines and and are collecting fees to temporarily manage
dispensaries and compassion clubs. Vancouver's bylaw will be changed
once the Liberal government puts its plan to regulate and restrict
access into place, they've said, and the dozen or so businesses
they've approved for licensing will be required to follow federal
guidelines - if that even includes dispensaries.

The process of moving to legalized marijuana is underway, with a
national task force looking at the best way to roll out

In the meantime, selling marijuana remains an illegal activity - even
if some police departments and RCMP detachments are turning a blind
eye to it. That wasn't the case in Chilliwack. In addition to the
forced closure, the municipality hit the dispensary with $1000 in
fines each day it was open, from March 18 to April 5. In addition, the
dispensary's two landlords were being fined $500 each daily. The city
had warned the business owner prior to opening that the fines would be
in place.

Last week, Mayor Sharon Gaetz voiced concerns over the legal issues
surrounding the operation. And MP Mark Strahl said much of the
confusion surrounding regulations stems from the vast differences
between the Conservative strategy that had been in motion, and the new
Liberal plan to legalize medical marijuana.

The RCMP added a reminder to everyone who witnesses anything they
believe to be suspicious in nature to the Chilliwack RCMP at
604-792-4611, or Crime Stoppers at 1-800-22-8477.
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