Pubdate: Sat, 04 Jun 2016
Source: Toronto Star (CN ON)
Copyright: 2016 The Toronto Star
Author: Matthew M. Elrod
Page: IN 11


Re: Toronto police raid marijuana dispensaries, May 27

The police may be right to enforce rules on cannabis dispensaries, 
but they are also expected to prioritize. Cannabis laws have always 
been selectively enforced, as evidenced by enforcement disparities 
among jurisdictions, ages, genders, races and classes.

Dispensaries in B.C. have been granted absolute discharges, based in 
part on the government's refusal to comply with court rulings of over 
a decade ago mandating a constitutional and functional medicinal 
cannabis regime. Most recently, the Supreme Court struck down the 
regulations for prohibiting edibles, extracts and topicals.

The police should also consider the consequences of indiscriminately 
shutting down dispensaries, regardless of their business practices 
and proximity to schools. Lacking dispensaries, most patients will 
return to the black market, or seek the help of an adolescent 
relative or acquaintance, or turn to more problematic drugs such as 
alcohol, fentanyl and oxycodone.

Vancouver and Victoria are more wisely identifying and culling out 
the bad actors, leaving the mom and pop clubs to compete with armed 
gangs, who also sell other prohibited substances of unknown 
provenance, potency and purity - on commission, tax free, to anyone 
of any age, anytime, anywhere, no questions asked. Amid this chaos, 
dispensaries provide compassion, knowledge, peace and order.

Matthew M. Elrod, Victoria
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