The Nanaimo RCMP have ordered medical cannabis dispensaries in the city to cease operations and shut down within seven days.
At least four dispensaries have received the warning, but it’s believed the cease and desist order will apply to every medical cannabis dispensary in the city.
Island Medical Solutions owner Tim Olafsen shared his letter with Cannabis in Canada:
“I, Sgt. Rob Christenson of the Nanaimo RCMP, am attending your establishment to advise you that you are operating illegally and are currently trafficking in substance (cannabis) contrary to Sec. 5(1) of the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act.
You are also operating outside of any Health Canada marihuana regulations.
I am providing you the opportunity to cease with any further sales of marihuana or marihuana derivatives.
I am notifying you that you have seven calendar days to comply with this notice or you will be subject to police enforcement including the arrest of all employees and patrons on site and the seizure of all offence related property from the premises.
You may also be subject to criminal prosecutions.”
Olafsen said he’s currently talking with staff and other dispensary owners to try and figure out what’s happening in the city.
“I see it happening out in Saskatoon but I can’t believe they’re trying to hit the island — I thought BC was a safe area,” Olafsen said.
“The last I was aware of they were talking about regulating in Nanaimo.”
In September, it seemed like city council was moving towards a regulation system similar to Victoria or Vancouver.
Sheena, the owner of Island Releaf, was also given the warning.
“When I came into the shop this morning an officer followed me in,” she told Cannabis in Canada over the phone, holding back tears. “He told me I had seven days to shut down.”
An employee with Phoenix Pain Management in Nanaimo also confirmed it had received a cease and desist warning.
When contacted by Cannabis in Canada, Nanaimo RCMP Constable Gary O’Brien said, “we are holding off on comment” for now, but “will be issuing a statement in the near future, likely early next week.”
Nanaimo RCMP have confirmed they will be having a discussions with all dispensaries in the city.
Olafsen said he’d like to stay open, but ultimately wants to avoid any legal issues.
“I can’t risk going to jail,” Olafsen said. “I’ve got a family of four.”
Dispensary owners are planning to meet tonight to discuss next steps.