Pubdate: Tue, 29 Nov 2016
Source: Telegram, The (CN NF)
Copyright: 2016 The Telegram
Author: James Mcleod
Page: A2


Marijuana advocate approached N.L. police months ago about starting a

Marijuana advocate Ryan Stratton said when he first heard about pot
dispensaries popping up in St. John's, he was a little bitter.

Back in May, he approached the Royal Newfoundland Constabulary about
starting a marijuana dispensary in town, and he got a firm,
unequivocal "No."

"I can't help but feel really slighted and bitter about that," he
said. "Are you kidding me? I would love to own the first dispensary
down there, make it professional, make it well done, get the best
product out there."

There are currently at least two dispensaries in St. John's, with one
on Water Street selling marijuana to customers without a prescription
or any sort of medical check.

Stratton, a marijuana legalization advocate, said this is definitely
illegal. He knew that full well when he approached the RNC and spoke
to Supt. Marlene Jesso earlier this year.

"I said straight-up, I want to sell illegal weed from a storefront,"
he said. "Because there's no other way around it, that's what's happening."

Stratton said he currently lives in Toronto, and has a medicinal
marijuana licence for his glaucoma - caused by a paintball injury when
he was younger.

Stratton said that even with his medicinal marijuana licence, it's
still technically illegal for him to buy product from the many
dispensaries that have sprouted up around Toronto.

Stratton said he just wishes the police were taking a less
black-and-white attitude towards the issue.

"In Victoria, the police work with government and municipalities and
the community to make sure that it doesn't get out of hand," he said.

"It is technically illegal, it's just a matter of what the local
police want to do about it."

Ultimately, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has promised that he will
legalize marijuana for recreational purposes.

Stratton said as far as he's concerned, in the meantime, it's a
question of who's going to be on the right side of history.

"I'm not wearing the weed shirt or have it tattooed on me. I just
think that if people would like to choose to smoke a plant that grows
in nature that makes you a little silly, then that should be OK," he

"If nobody is being hurt, then why is it a crime?"
- ---
MAP posted-by: Matt