HTTP/1.0 200 OK Content-Type: text/html Mohawk Police Tackle Pot Issue
Pubdate: Wed, 12 Jul 2017
Source: Intelligencer, The (CN ON)
Copyright: 2017, The Belleville Intelligencer
Contact: http://www.intelligencer.ca/letters
Website: http://www.intelligencer.ca/
Details: http://www.mapinc.org/media/2332
Author: Jason Miller
Page: A2

MOHAWK POLICE TACKLE POT ISSUE

Police chief Ron Maracle said there is a plan of action, but won't say
what it is

The Mohawk police chief is set to initiate 'proactive policing' to
address the proliferation of illegal marijuana dispensaries on the
Tyendinaga Mohawk Territory.

"There is a plan of action, but I'm not looking to put it out at this
point," said chief Ron Maracle about potential police initiatives to
crack down on the dispensaries which have been warned about the risk
of continuing operation without proper licences. "I still have another
meeting with chief and council, on Monday, before I put my plan in
action."

No raids have been conducted to date, but Maracle said he has met with
some of the organizations.

"Technically they are illegal, but obviously there are legalities
around that," he said. "There is some grey area, but they're illegal."

The police chief is aware of efforts by the federal government to
revamp rules around marijuana use and sale, which has sparked an
unprecedented proliferation of dispensaries operations nationwide.

"It's got to be done properly," he said.

"There has to be a process that allows for these dispensaries to
operate in a way that's not only safe for the community but safe for
individuals that are attending them."

Safety is paramount until the federal rules are clearly defined, said
Maracle.

"Until such time, you have no idea what's being sold," he said.
"That's part of the issue we're dealing with as well."

Maracle said more than five operations have cropped up on the
reserve.

"There is a lot more than five," he said. "It is at a point now, where
there has to be some proactive policing conducted. What that will look
like is yet to be seen."

People have been flooding into the reserve to purchase from the
establishments, but the police chief warns that they too could be
liable for buying from illegal operations.

"They're not sanctioned, nor do they have any control on what's being
sold, and anybody in there buying from them could be subjected to
being charged, until the government passes legislation that makes it
OK," said Maracle.

The grey area created by potential rule changes in Ottawa makes it
increasingly difficult for enforcement.

"It's a grey area," said Maracle. "They (government) have put the cart
before the horse. It's difficult for enforcement purposes."

Chief R. Donald Maracle said the Mohawk band council has made it clear
it won't be endorsing the marijuana dispensaries on the territory.

"They 're not legal," he said. "The police have already gone around to
the businesses to make them aware of that. People are anticipating
that the laws are going to change, so they're setting up much earlier
than the law."

Chief Maracle said the dispensaries have not been issued licences by
council and there is no plan to do so.

"Council cannot assure the quality of the product," he said.
"Marijuana sold in other jurisdictions has been found to be laced with
fentanyl, so that is a concern."

It is now in the hands of the police.

"The enforcement of the law is a police decision," said Chief Maracle.
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