Pubdate: Thu, 07 Dec 2017
Source: Chronicle Herald (CN NS)
Copyright: 2017 The Halifax Herald Limited
Author: John McPhee


The owner of a Halifax marijuana dispensary says the province's
recreational pot policy announced Thursday will drive more people to
the black market.

But Chris Enns said he doesn't fear that widespread access to pot next
July will threaten his business.

"I've had no less than half a dozen individuals call me this morning
literally in tears, worried I was going to shut down or be shut down
by these new regulations and that they wouldn't have a source for
their medicine anymore," said Enns, owner of Farm Assists Medical
Cannabis Resource Centre, in an interview Thursday.

"I assured them that we will still continue to be open, that the
charter under section 7 continues to provide for our right to provide
them the medicine they need and that we look forward to continuing to
help them going forward."

Enns has battled possession and trafficking charges many times over
the years, both at his current Gottingen Street location and a
previous storefront in Porters Lake called Grow-Op Shop.

The Crown recently dropped a seven-count indictment related to three
raids at the Gottingen Street dispensary in Nova Scotia Supreme Court.

Crown attorney Jill Hartlen told The Chronicle Herald that the
decision to withdraw the charges came about because regulations
governing medical marijuana access from the time of the 2013, 2014 and
2015 raids are no longer in place.

She also noted Enns is preparing to launch a challenge against
marijuana regulations under section 7 of the Canadian Charter of
Rights and Freedoms.

Enns questioned the province's decision to sell recreational marijuana
at selected liquor commission stores, likely at a price well above
that in the black market, without taking advantage of the knowledge
and expertise of sellers like him.

"Those individuals I've talked to that are more a part of the black
market, if we want to use that slang term, I think are very encouraged
by the announcement today," he said.

"They see nothing but opportunity moving forward. I don't think Nova
Scotians are going to be willing to pay double the price for their
cannabis from the liquor store outlets."

The provincial Department of Justice said the new recreational pot
regulations won't change enforcement policies.

"Anyone selling cannabis to the public in a storefront is breaking the
law," spokesman Andrew Preeper said in an email Thursday.

"These stores are illegal now and will remain illegal in Nova Scotia
after July 1, 2018. Health Canada regulates medical marijuana and
retail outlets are not part of that regime.

"Illegal cannabis storefronts are a matter for police."
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