With the deadline from RCMP for Nanaimo dispensaries to close coming into effect today, owners are still standing firm that they will stay open.
Nanaimo Cannabis Coalition spokesperson Matthew O’Donnell said business owners are committed to providing patients with their medicine and the majority have chosen not to close by the end of the day.
RCMP warned they would raid all 10 of the city’s dispensaries if they don’t comply with their orders to shut down, and will arrest any staff or customers in the storefronts.
When contacted by Cannabis in Canada, Nanaimo RCMP Constable Gary O’Brien said “We don’t comment on ongoing cases.” But there are unconfirmed reports police are not planning to take any action today.
The Coalition’s requests for support from government have been met with sympathy, but few have offered to intervene on their behalf. At a city council meeting earlier this week, the group asked for a letter to be sent to the RCMP requesting a “cooling-down” period to delay the police raids. City council chose to not write the letter.
“If the law is about to change … this seems an unfortunate time to go ahead and enforce the Conservative government rules,” Malcolmson said. “I am concerned this is alarming medical marijuana patients unnecessarily and it may be using public enforcement resources in an inefficient way.”
The RCMP have given no additional details on why they have targeted the dispensaries other than to say they are simply following the law, regardless of the federal government’s plans to legalize cannabis.
Some dispensary owners are looking for someone else to blame for what’s happening.