Pubdate: Tue, 22 Nov 2016
Source: Ottawa Sun (CN ON)
Copyright: 2016 Canoe Limited Partnership
Author: Jacquie Miller
Page: 9


Two of the pot shops raided by police two weeks ago are back in

The Green Tree dispensaries on Preston Street and Montreal Road opened
on the weekend. Both were sparsely stocked Monday with a few jars of
dried weed selling for $10 to $14 a gram. The popular edibles -
cannabis cookies, brownies, candy and pop - will be available later
this week, said a clerk at one of the stores.

There's no ATM available yet, a clerk at the Montreal Road dispensary
explained to one customer, pointing to the spot where police ripped it
out of the floor during the Nov. 4 raids.

The shops are among seven dispensaries closed after Ottawa police drug
officers executed search warrants and seized merchandise. Nine
employees were arrested.

At the time, police Chief Charles Bordeleau said the raids were a
warning that the shops are not wanted in the community. Ottawa police
say they continue to investigate the remaining dispensaries.

It's not surprising the shops have popped back up - that's what
happened in Toronto, said Ottawa Coun. Mathieu Fleury. Police in that
city have raided about 50 dispensaries since last spring. Some
reopened and new ones sprang up.

"It's cat and mouse until the federal legislation is in place," said
Fleury. "A lot of them are just trying to make a buck in the short

The federal government has promised to introduce legislation in the
spring to legalize recreational pot. Medical cannabis is already legal
by mail order from a producer licensed by Health Canada.

The police raids may have helped clear up some confusion, says Fleury.
Some customers, employees and even city social service caseworkers who
referred clients to them didn't realize the dispensaries were illegal,
he said.

The clerk at Green Tree on Montreal Road said he was told by his boss
that the operation is "fully licensed."

"I'm not doing anything illegal. I'm just working in a store. I'm not
sure how the police will look at it," he said. "To be honest, it's
cash weekly. I can't really go wrong with that. I've got bills to pay,
kids to feed."

Clerks at both stores declined to give their names and said they could
not reveal the names of the manager or owners.

The landlord of the Green Tree dispensary on Preston Street, John
Sanders, said they are good tenants. "I have no issue with them. It
doesn't bother me what they do, as long as they pay the rent."

Several customers at both Green Tree locations said buying marijuana
in a store is safer than purchasing it on the street. Pot is not as
harmful as alcohol or harder drugs, and police should not devote
resources to shutting down the shops, said one woman emerging from the
Preston Street store.
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