Pubdate: Tue, 25 Oct 2016
Source: Ottawa Citizen (CN ON)
Copyright: 2016 Postmedia Network Inc.
Author: Joe Lofaro
Page: A4


Richard Bergman used to investigate people in B.C. for marijuana
grow-ops and possession of pot as a sergeant in the RCMP, but now the
retired officer is fighting the of war on drugs as a civilian and
concerned parent in suburban Ottawa.

He pleaded with Chief Charles Bordeleau at the police services board
meeting Thursday to crack down on illegal marijuana dispensaries,
especially the two that have popped up in his Orleans neighbourhood,
one of which is steps away from a kids' tutoring centre and a martial
arts club.

"What I think we're witnessing today, unfortunately, is an abdication
of the duty of the police to enforce the Criminal Code of Canada as
it's currently written in the books," the former sergeant told the
board, flanked by two other concerned residents.

"Loving and caring parents cry disbelief when they walk their children
to tutoring clinics and taekwondo studios that have a marijuana store
right beside it."

Speaking on behalf of parents who didn't have time to attend the board
meeting Thursday evening, Bergman called the lack of enforcement from
police "a direct assault on our children."

Marijuana remains legal for medicinal purposes and must be sold by
mail from producers licensed by the federal government.

Police across Canada are faced with the challenge of enforcing the
current laws that are poised to change with legalization of marijuana,
as the new federal government has pledged to do. In Toronto, police
have raided several shops over the past few months, only to see some
of them reopen in a devious rebuff to law enforcement.

Cracking down on them, Bordeleau said, is more complicated than just
showing up to the front door with a police badge.

There have been no such raids targeting the 16 known marijuana shops
in Ottawa, but Ottawa's police chief confirmed there are active
investigations into the businesses.

"We have met with federal Crown and they have agreed to prosecute
those, but there is a lot of work that needs to be done in presenting
a case for them to prosecute. That's what we're in the process of
doing on certain facilities. We don't have, at the Ottawa Police
Service, the ability to say you can't open," Bordeleau said.

"We don't have that legal authority." The chief also suggested the
city could mitigate the proliferation of these businesses by
strengthening licensing bylaws.
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