Pubdate: Mon, 13 Mar 2017
Source: Record, The (Kitchener, CN ON)
Copyright: 2017 Metroland Media Group Ltd.
Author: Greg Mercer
Page: B1


Police say they seized $26,800-worth of marijuana; four people

KITCHENER - After issuing warnings to the region's growing number of
unlicensed marijuana dispensaries, Waterloo Regional Police raided a
prominent downtown cannabis retailer - seizing significant quantities
of pot and cash.

The Friday-night bust at Green Tree Medical Dispensary on King Street
East came after an investigation that began last month into the
businesses, which the police say remain illegal despite changing
legislation on the horizon.

Four people, three women and a male employee, were arrested and
charged with possession for the purpose of trafficking in the raid.
Officers loaded large bags of pot, hash, edible pot products and
drinks into vehicles as they cleared out the downtown shop.

Included in the seizure was $26,800-worth of marijuana, $5,400 worth
of hash and a "substantial amount of cash," according to a police

The arrests should have come as no surprise to the dispensary's
owners, police said. The region's other pot retailers, although
rattled by the raid, were not searched.

"The dispensaries were given multiple warnings to cease and desist,"
said Cherri Greeno, spokesperson for the police.

"The sale of cannabis-marijuana is considered illegal unless they have
a licence from Health Canada."

She added that warnings were given to the dispensaries ahead of the
raid because police recognize there are "misconceptions" around
"impending changes to the law" and wanted to give them a fair chance
to close first.

The raid comes as federal pot legalization legislation looms this
summer, but the police say for now these are illegal businesses.
Police forces in other cities have also been busy conducting raids on
similar dispensaries.

In Toronto, police executed 11 search warrants last week that saw five
people arrested - including Canada's so-called prince of pot, Marc
Emery, and his wife - for charges that range from possession to

Pot dispensaries, have increasingly popped up around the country as
marijuana advocates have called on police to focus their resources
elsewhere. It's been over a year and a half since Prime Minister
Justin Trudeau said he would legalize marijuana.

Customers of Green Tree stood outside its locked doors Saturday and
said they hoped the dispensary would reopen soon. Tyler Bester, 24,
said he's been coming here for about a month, and found the store a
safe, welcoming alternative to buying pot from drug dealers on the

"Inside, it's a legitimate business. They're professional and they're
great people," he said. "It's a shame that this happened. But I don't
think this will stop them. They have to keep pushing, keep going.
Police shouldn't be wasting their time with this."

The staff talked about opening another dispensary in Cambridge, he
added. He got a membership after getting a referral from a doctor, and
says the dispensary has helped him beat his addiction to opioids.

Rebecca Taylor, 21, said the dispensary catered to all kinds of
people, from cancer patients to the elderly. The raid is confusing,
she said, since the government has signalled it wants to legalize pot.

"The prime minister wants to change things, and it's pretty much legal
in a lot of other countries. So I don't understand this," she said.
"It's disappointing."
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