Pubdate: Fri, 27 May 2016
Source: Toronto Sun (CN ON)
Page: 4
Copyright: 2016 Canoe Limited Partnership
Author: Shawn Jeffords


Coalition Calls For City To Halt Pot Dispensary Crackdown

A broad coalition of medical marijuana supporters called on the City
of Toronto to halt a crackdown on dispensaries, calling the move a
waste of money and a "make work" project for police.

Just before the organizers of the press conference stepped in front of
a podium at City Hall Thursday, they learned of the sweeping raids
taking place across Toronto. The group, which included a pain doctor,
lawyer for dispensaries, patients and the Toronto Taxpayers Coalition,
condemned the move.

Dr. Sana-Ara Ahmed, a chronic pain doctor who prescribes medical
marijuana, said the city needs "standard protocols" around the
industry, not a crackdown. City staff should help ensure people
running and working at the dispensaries are given guidance and
training on acceptable dosages to protect patients.

"A crackdown only further stigmatizes medical marijuana," she said.
"And it prevents pain patients from accessing their medicine in a
timely fashion."

Lawyer Kirk Tousaw represents dispensaries and has fought for
increased access to medical marijuana for patients. He called the
raids "appalling.

"It's an absolute waste of taxpayers' resources and one that is only
going to cost the City of Toronto and the Province of Ontario and
ultimately the federal government hundreds of thousands, if not
millions, in legal fees," Tousaw said.

He lauded the dispensaries for "pioneering access" to medical
marijuana for the ill.

"The idea that they should continue to be raided, continue to be
arrested, continue to face the prospect of being caged in jail cells
for helping sick, suffering citizens of this city and this country ...
should disgust anyone," he said.

Andrea Micieli, president of the Toronto Taxpayers' Coalition, asked
the city to stop the raids. They target the Toronto's most vulnerable
citizens - seniors, veterans, and chronic pain sufferers who are
forced to use slower mail order programs as a result.

"Frankly, it's a make work project for the Toronto Police Service
which is already inefficient," she said. "There are greater problems
in the city ... that they should be focusing on."

Michael McClellan, a consultant for Eden Medicinal Society confirmed
the company's Queen St. West shop was raided Thursday.

"At this stage, I don't know what the basis for the police action is,"
he said. "We just know that there have been two police officers in the
store. The doors were locked and the employees there had handcuffs
placed on them and they were detained."

He said the building's landlord recently received a warning notice
from the city about the business.

"We were given copies of them by our landlord who is contemplating
with his attorney what action he might take."  
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