Pubdate: Thu, 10 Aug 2017
Source: Prince George Citizen (CN BC)
Copyright: 2017 Prince George Citizen
Author: Barbara Latkowski
Page: 1


In light of two recent arrests involving what Prince George RCMP are
referring to as an "illegal storefront business," members of a
provincial marijuana advocacy group are not about to give up.

"Prince George has a fair population and lots of people who do
physical work and require pain relief," said MayJoan Liu, director of
the WeeMedical Society.

"We are all people. Everyone has aches and pains. Why should someone
have to travel all the way to Vancouver to find pain relief?"

WeeMedical opened a "wellness centre" on the 1400 block of Third
Avenue in February. "We are not a dispensary," Liu said. "We do not
sell marijuana to people who are not registered with Heath Canada. For
those who are, yes we accommodate them but the wellness centre is all
about our other natural remedies and products such as CBD oil
(cannabidiol oil) which is used for pain relief. It's not on the list
of controlled substances yet, so the police took all of those products
out of the centre."

Last Friday, the RCMP's Downtown Safety Unit executed a Controlled
Drugs and Substance Act search warrant at WeeMedical.

Two males, aged 32 and 34, were arrested after police seized marijuana
along with cannibas-infused food and cash.

"Police seized less than 100 grams of marijuana. That's all there was,
less than a quarter pound. If we were a dispensary, would we not have
more than that?" Liu said.

"That's why we are not a dispensary where people can come in, make a
selection and then make a purchase. We serve those who are registered,
those in need of pain relief, that's why there wasn't much found by
the police."

WeeMedical was also closed three days after opening in February when
RCMP and city officials found it was operating without a business
licence and had marijuana on the premises.

Despite a shaky start, WeeMedical continued on as a wellness

"We've made various attempts with the City of Prince George but they
just disregard us," Liu said. "This recent incident was right in the
middle of us making an attempt to gain a wellness licence. Our
landlord is happy we are here. We've never had issues with our
neighbours. But the city disregards us completely."

Mayor Lyn Hall and RCMP have said marijuana retailers will be treated
as illegal businesses until new federal laws come into place,
scheduled for next summer.

Within the last few years, however, the number of dispensaries in the
province has been on the rise, not just in Vancouver but also in
Nanaimo, where WeeMedical operates two dispensaries.

In Prince George, the complaint leading to both arrests was filed by a
disgruntled past employee, according to Liu.

The two males arrested inside the business were released on promises
to appear on Oct. 11.

"The two arrested are being treated like criminals right now. And we
are being criminalized unnecessarily," Liu said.

"When we set up, we always set up to stay. We would really love to
continue to work with the community of Prince George."

WeeMedical has other locations - both dispensaries and wellness
centres - throughout B.C. including Kelowna, North Vancouver and Port
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