On Feb. 8th, 2018, all three of MMJ Canada’s dispensaries in Hamilton, Ontario, were raided by police, according to CEO Clint Younge. It wasn’t the first time that his Hamilton stores have been raided, but much like the previous times, Clint said the Hamilton police were very polite and treated his staff with the “utmost respect”- which is far more sensible than the approach favored by some of Ontario’s other cities- like Toronto and Ottawa- where staff members and customers are arrested and charged.
Despite having their computers seized during the raid, MMJ Canada recovered fast with Clint’s Feb. 11th announcement on social media:
Looks like no matter how many times they’re raided, MMJ is here to stay, but with locations in BC and Ontario, the company has to deal with laws and regulations that can vary widely from province to province. BC will see a mixture of private and public storefronts for non-medical cannabis retail, while in Ontario, the provincial Liquor Control Board is being given complete control over the recreational cannabis market, which means that the province’s hundreds of existing dispensaries, including MMJ Canada, are all technically illegal and subject to enforcement actions like these.
Interestingly, the raids occurred the day before the inaugural Innovations in the Science of Cannabis Conference at McMaster University, which according to the Hamilton Spectator highlighted the need for more research into medicinal cannabis and ending the stigma around it.
As Clint said on Facebook, “We have a moral obligation to help patients who are in need.”
With the July legalization date fast approaching, it seems that police in Ontario are not backing off, instead giving Prohibition one last hurrah, despite questions over the value of continually investing public resources into these kinds of activities when there are more pressing issues like gang violence and the opioid crisis.