Pubdate: Fri, 22 Dec 2017
Source: Metro (Edmonton, CN AB)
Copyright: 2017 Metro Canada
Author: Kevin Maimann
Page: 3


Several people now face drugrelated charges

It's not legal yet.

Police sent out a stern warning Thursday after shutting down two
cannabis dispensaries in south Edmonton - including one that required
prescriptions for purchase - and making several arrests.

"We want the owners and employees of these illegal cannabis operations
to be aware that they're breaking the law, and that we'll continue to
enforce that law until such time those laws are changed," said
Edmonton Police Service Insp. Shane Perka.

On Nov. 30, officers found about 100 marijuana plants being grown in a
facility near 46 Avenue and 101 Street, which they believe was the
site of a "sophisticated distribution centre" that sold products
online. They charged two people in connection with the bust.

On Dec. 13, officers executed warrants at a storefront location on 109
Street and 78 Avenue, where they seized "large quantities" of cannabis
products, including edibles, and charged five people.

The storefront location required customers to show a prescription
before selling, but was not selling according to Health Canada

"I'm convinced that several of the customers attending that location,
the way it was set up, truly believed that it was a legitimate,
regulated dispensary when in fact it wasn't," Perka said.

The MEDi Joint, located at 7809-109 St., has 12 Google reviews with a
perfect five-star rating.

"You were helping so many people," one customer wrote.

A post written as a "response from the owner" one week ago said the
facility "will be closed until further notice," adding it "was not our
choice and is due to the decisions of the powers that be."

Danial Schecter, co-founder of the Cannabinoid Medical Clinic, said
illegal dispensaries and clinics are not uncommon.

"In some places, the police are playing whack-a-mole. They get shut
down, they get opened up the next day somewhere else or under a
different name," he said.

Schecter's Toronto-based chain of legal medical cannabis clinics,
which has a downtown Edmonton location, offers the drug from licensed
producers to patients who meet requirements and have been referred by
a physician.

He said it's important for customers to know the difference between
legal and illegal operations.

The only legal way for clinics to provide medical cannabis is to
obtain it through the mail from producers that are licensed by Health

"If they walk into a store or walk into something that is called a
clinic, and they're being supplied product in person, that is right
away an illegal dispensary," Schecter said.

He added that most of his patients come in to treat chronic pain, and
many are looking to cut back on opioids they've been prescribed.

He said it's important for the patient to get a proper recommendation
with input from their physician, and to get a regulated product that
has been tested for contaminants and has accurately measured CBD and
THC levels.

Police say dispensaries operating without Health Canada authorization
could be found in contravention of various laws, including:
trafficking a controlled substance, possession of a controlled
substance for the purpose of trafficking, possession of the proceeds
of crime, and production of a controlled substance (where an illegal
grow operation is found on the premises).

In a year-end interview with Metro on Wednesday, Edmonton police chief
Rod Knecht said police were "not really focused on marijuana" since
the federal government announced its intent to legalize the drug by
July 2018.
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