Pubdate: Wed, 14 Mar 2018
Source: Truro Daily News (CN NS)
Copyright: 2018 The Daily News
Author: John McPhee
Page: 5


The legalization of pot may be looming but that doesn't mean police
are backing off their crackdown on the "grey" marijuana market.

Most recently, RCMP in Colchester County raided the Community
Compassion Centre in Bible Hill. They seized cash, marijuana,
marijuana derivatives and drug paraphernalia, and charged Ricky Joseph
Leclerc, 51, of Upper Kennetcook.

He's scheduled to appear in Nova Scotia provincial court

"The RCMP will continue to work within the existing legislation under
the Controlled Drug and Substances Act," RCMP spokesman Cpl. Dal
Hutchinson said Monday in an email. "If we determine that there is a
violation of the legislation, we will take appropriate action."

Criminologist Michael Boudreau said the continued crackdown on
storefront pot shops makes no sense.

"I mean, one of the reasons why some of the police forces are tacitly
on board with the legalization of cannabis, small amounts to 30 grams,
is because it's been over the years a tremendous waste of their
resources," Boudreau said in an interview Monday from St. Thomas
University in Fredericton, where he's a member of its criminology 

"Continuing to target the pot shops, the privately run shops, and it's
happening in Nova Scotia, in New Brunswick and other provinces, it's
just foolhardy.

"These shops even at the best of times were not part of the socalled
black market.

"The police would have us believe in some of these cases these stores
were the fronts for the Hells Angels or what have you.

"The police have provided very little evidence to support that and in
many cases these shops were selling more medicinal marijuana as
opposed to recreational marijuana."

Sometime this summer - likely in August, given the progression of Bill
C-45 through the federal legislative machine - marijuana will be
legalized in Canada. In Nova Scotia, the drug will be sold at nine
Nova Scotia Liquor Corporation outlets.

Operators of storefront pot dispensaries say their product is for
medicinal use and argue they have the constitutional right to do so.

When asked if Nova Scotia RCMP are making more of a concerted effort
to crack down on pot shops ahead of legalization, Hutchinson said in
his emailed response that "the RCMP sets enforcement priorities in
consultation with local government, partners and citizens of the
community. Businesses operating in contravention of the Controlled
Drugs and Substances Act may be subject to investigation and criminal
charges in accordance with Canadian laws."

Boudreau said governments should be taking advantage of the private
sellers' expertise instead of putting them in the court system.
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