Sidney and the local police force seem to be doing everything they can to nip a proposed medicinal marijuana dispensary in the bud.
Better to try and prevent a retail pot shop up front, one would suppose, rather than have police conduct raids later on.
The proponent of Dispensary by the Sea — planned to open on Second Street just off Beacon Avenue, has applied to the Town to open the storefront facility. That’s not legal, according to the RCMP — and Health Canada, which states that legal, licenced and registered producers of medical marijuana can only direct mail the product to registered customers.
Of course, that hasn’t stopped new dispensaries from opening up in what can only be called a large-scale challenge to federal rules on the distribution of medical marijuana.
The Liberal government has stated it plans on looking into ways to legalize pot — in one form or another — but as municipal staff and local police point out, that just hasn’t happened yet. And as such dispensaries of medicinal marijuana are still not legal. Hence the raids by police of such storefronts in cities like Nanaimo.
That’s not stopping proponents of the drug. Some stores, raided by police, have already re-opened. Others may continue to operate under the radar, as they have for years.
There is a lot of anticipation of change in Canada over its pot laws. And that is driving some to jump the gun — perhaps trying to push the agenda forward.
Yet whether you wish to see marijuana legalized or not, flouting existing laws only makes a difficult situation worse and stands to muddy the waters should new rules come into effect under the current government in Ottawa. It’s easy to anticipate a variety of underground users and sellers stemming from these ad hoc and illegal pot shops and that stands to undermine progress towards legalization.
That may be what some people are after, however. For some, legalization means unwanted regulation. For others, the debate means there’s a chance for its continued prohibition.
In the end, legalization in Canada remains under a cloud.