Pubdate: Wed, 17 Jan 2018
Source: Regina Leader-Post (CN SN)
Copyright: 2018 The Leader-Post Ltd.
Author: Arthur White-Crummey
Page: A5


Chief says pot shops still against law and service will be speaking to
store owners

Regina's police chief again put marijuana dispensaries "on notice"
that they're breaking the law, warning they could face criminal
charges in the weeks to come.

"In the next six weeks, prepare yourself for some headlines," Regina
police chief Evan Bray told an audience gathered at a Chamber of
Commerce luncheon Tuesday.

He said police actions will follow an education campaign, set to begin
in about a week and a half.

The Regina Police Service will let the public know the only legal way
to buy marijuana for now is through an approved medical mail-order
service - not at a storefront.

After that, they will pass that message straight to the dispensaries.
He claimed there are 19 in the city.

"We're going to do some real face-to-face communication,
registered-letter communication, with the owners of the businesses,
letting them know: Here's the law," he said.

"Basically, put yourself on notice."

Bray would not comment specifically on what those headlines will say.
Asked whether Regina could see officers shutting down dispensaries, he
said it would "depend on the situation."

But he hinted charges may follow for those who fail to

"There could be some criminal consequences," he said, "... after this
communication is done, if we find people breaking the law."

The chief said his primary concern is safety. Without the regulatory
framework that will come with legalization, he worries dispensaries
might adulterate their products with stronger drugs.

"We've heard a couple horror stories about alterations that are being
done to try and give you a little bit better high," he said.

"Trust me, with fentanyl that's going on in the province, the opioid
crisis that we have right now, you don't need alterations going to
marijuana, because alterations could be lethal."

Speaking to reporters after his speech, Bray acknowledged that he has
no specific evidence that anything like that had happened in Regina
dispensaries. He said the only examples he has are from other cities.

A man working at one of the city's marijuana dispensaries said he
isn't afraid of the chief's talk of "criminal consequences."

"I've already got a criminal charge from this industry, trying to help
sick people," he said, declining to provide his name.

If directly instructed to close up shop, though, he said his
dispensary would comply.

"Once these letters come out, chances are we will not continue," he
said. "If they come and send us letters saying shut down this day, we

The chief 's marijuana comments came in response to audience questions
after his speech, which focused on how the police have modernized to
focus on partnerships and community policing.

He said about 80 per cent of what the police service deals with, on an
operation level, isn't criminal in nature. Most of their time is spent
on mental health, addictions and youth at risk.

"It's not a crime issue," he said. "The crime is a side

He said tackling those challenges depends on forming alliances with
community groups, and on building trust within the community.

"Trust is what enables us to do our job," Bray said.
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