Pubdate: Fri, 12 Jan 2018
Source: Regina Leader-Post (CN SN)
Copyright: 2018 The Leader-Post Ltd.
Author: D.C. Frasetr
Page: A1


Chief warns crackdown could be coming as weed is still illegal

Regina police are well aware stores selling marijuana are up and
running around the city.

And while cannabis is set to become legal this summer, Chief Evan Bray
is clear: selling the product is still illegal.

It's a message he says will be actively communicated with the public
in coming weeks, and it is one those working at or running
dispensaries in the city have likely already heard.

Bray wants the illegality of dispensaries to be clearly known.

"Once we're satisfied that everyone is up to speed on what they can
and can't do, if there is continued illegal activity after that, then
there is going to be some enforcement."

Walk into just about any of the stores operating in the city now and
it is clear: They are outside the parameters of the current law.

It is currently illegal to sell marijuana at a storefront, even for
medical purposes.

The pending legalization may cast a shade of grey on that law, but the
law still exists.

But that is not stopping dispensaries in the city from selling
marijuana and related products.

Most require you to fill out a form, in which customers write general
information about themselves - such as name and address - before
providing a piece of ID (to prove they are 19 or older) and a reason
for needing marijuana.

No prescription from a doctor is required, and people can write just
about anything as their reason for buying marijuana.

"Anxiety," "headaches," "cramps" and "sleeping " are examples of
reasons given to shops by customers.

There are consumers of marijuana who will readily admit they are
buying it for recreational, not medical, use.

At most dispensaries, filling out that form takes less time than
standing in line to get to the front. They are busy places, located on
busy streets, like Albert, in the city. Handfuls of people are
typically inside during operating hours, which stretch from morning to

Absent from most of the stores is decor, like art or chairs, seen in
other places of business.

Employees at some of the stores know a police raid is possible at any
time, which is a reason few of the shops have anything more than a
simple display case, a board outlining prices and an ATM inside (the
shops are generally cash only). Bray is aware of the public backlash
against law enforcement agencies that cracked down on dispensaries in
other jurisdictions, saying the service here is taking a "cautious
approach" and that investigators involved with drug files are
"extremely busy with other drug work as well."

"We have meth problems in this city, fentanyl is an issue in this
city. It takes a lot of time, effort and resources to do a drug
investigation. There are some going on right now, obviously I won't be
talking about openly, but to say that all of our efforts can focus in
one area, that doesn't happen," he said.

He warns the public there is no regulated testing or onus for testing
done on the cannabis products currently being sold in the city.

That will change when the sales become legal. The province recently
said it would allow Regina to have six dispensaries, and 60 throughout

In order to become legal, the stores operating in Regina will have to
win a lottery and then prove they are capable of meeting federal and
provincial regulations, many of which are still unknown.

Bray understands why a business, like those open now, would want to
get its name out there; but notes there is a difference between
providing information and actually selling an illegal product.

He adds the police also "have a responsibility to a group of potential
business owners saying, 'we're not opening right now because it's not
legal right now.' "
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