Pubdate: Fri, 23 Mar 2018
Source: Nelson Star (CN BC)
Copyright: 2018 Black Press
Author: Gary Poignant
Page: A1


Nelson Police executed a search warrant on a downtown medical
marijuana dispensary and arrested five employees.

Five employees at MMJ marijuana dispensary, 752 Vernon Street, were
taken into custody Tuesday morning, March 20, without incident.

Charges against the employees are pending, said a release from NPD
Chief Constable Paul Burkart, adding that all five were released from
custody Tuesday afternoon.

Until charges are formally laid, Burkart said the NPD will be making
no further comment as the investigation is ongoing. A further update
can be expected in the next week.

"The Nelson Police Department and the City of Nelson have attempted to
deal fairly, professionally and progressively with the medical
marijuana businesses that sell product to legitimate customers who
require prescribed medical marijuana," said Burkart, adding "Shops
owners and staff have been educated by both our department and city
staff that licensing is strictly for medical marijuana."

The chief constable continued, "Business owners and their staff should
be well aware that any activities outside the sale of medical
marijuana could be subject to investigation, and may result in
charges, both under local bylaws and the Criminal Code."

MMJ was closed Wednesday and did not return a telephone

The arrests come as the city prepares to draft a bylaw dealing with
the future of cannabis sales and consumption in Nelson ahead of the
legalization of recreational marijuana this summer.

The city send out feedback forms to every household and business
within city limits, which were returned by February. City staff and
council were using the information to help draft regulations in March
that is scheduled to be made public in April.

In March 2017, Nelson city council voted to amend a zoning bylaw and
adopt a business licence bylaw that would allow local dispensaries to
remain active at their current locations until federal legislation was

Late last year, council placed a moratorium on recreational cannabis
sales, which is meant to prevent more businesses opening in Nelson
before provincial and federal rules are made public.

All of those changes, however, could be completely re-written
depending on the feedback given to city staff.
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