Nanaimo Dispensary Community Meets To Discuss Next Steps

Dispensary owners and staff met in Nanaimo last night to discuss yesterday’s RCMP orders to shut down their businesses.

With now less than a week before the deadline to close, after which RCMP have threatened employees and customers will be arrested, operators are still struggling to understand what’s going on.

Island Medical Solutions owner Tim Olafsen said yesterday’s meeting was filled with anger and misinformation.

“I heard a lot speculation from different people about what was going on,” Olafsen said. “We’re all trying to get together, trying to decide on what the game plan is.”

Dispensaries are now debating what to do next, with legal council being investigated, but Olafsen said he’s not sure if the threats are that serious.

“A lot of people were saying, ‘it’s all bark and no bite,’” said Olafsen. “If they were going to raid 10 dispensaries at the same time, and then go through the legal costs. Who’s going to pay for that? I honestly don’t see it happening.”

He said the letters are just “another scare tactics” and suspected that police may be trying to get rid of businesses in the easiest way – having them shut down themselves.

“The managers and owners are going to unite,” Olafsen said. “If you leave one straggler it’s easy to pick off.”

Amanda Orum from Pheonix Pain Management Society wrote in the Facebook post that dispensaries are asking supporters to contact officials at the city and RCMP to voice their disapproval.

“Some are closing after 7 days, some will stand strong,” wrote Orum. “Suppliers show devotion and support, growers show unity and by embracing the cannabis culture tonight we will make a unified message to send to the rcmp and city council for direction.”

Olafsen said he’s heard that city hall had no idea the RCMP order had been sent out to dispensaries.

In an interview with CBC, Canada’s newly appointed justice ministerJody Wilson-Raybould said the federal government will be discussing the decisions made by local RCMP in Nanaimo.

“We were very clear in our platform and certainly we will be moving forward with this. I will be having discussion with my colleague [Public Safety] Minister Goodale on this matter,” said Wilson-Raybould.

RCMP have said they are just following the law.

“[Our] actions are related to our ongoing commitment to public safety and community safety initiatives,” wrote Const. Gary O’Brien in an email. “It is important that our position be made very clear.”

Owners will meet again early next week to discuss next steps.