The state is watching

Pam and SAM Pound Price in Prairies

An entrepreneur led away in handcuffs.

Police dressed like the military.

City workers disassembling a small business.

A scene from Russia after the communist revolution? No, this was the scene in Winnipeg earlier in the week when police raided Your Medical Cannabis Headquarters, Winnipeg’s only medical cannabis dispensary.

Glenn Price opened his main street store on July 1st of this year, but after pressure from the American anti-cannabis lobby group, Smart Approaches to Marijuana (SAM) headed by Canadian antagonist/activist Pamela McColl), the police felt obliged to enforce prohibition. But if cannabis was the problem, then there are other cannabis businesses the cops could have raided. But while LPs like Delta-9 are protected by the police force, Glenn Price’s shop does not benefit from the same protection. Price was in business not because a handful of bureaucrats gave him the thumbs up, but because consumers voluntarily shopped at his store.

“The police wouldn’t tell me anything. They even wouldn’t show me a copy of the warrant,” Price’s daughter Stacie Price told CinC. His wife was also arrested, but released later in the day. A client who was in the dispensary at the time of the raid was arrested as well.

While the Winnipeg Police wouldn’t provide detailed information, citing an ongoing investigation, they issued a statement regarding the illegality of cannabis production, unless licensed by Health Canada. Later, a Winnipeg police spokesman, Const. Rob Carver, said police weren’t interested in the politics of medical cannabis.

“The regulations around medical marijuana in this country are fairly clear from a policing stand point. Under the Controlled Drug and Substances Act, regardless of who the individual is or the political motivation, we were made aware of an alleged crime. We have to investigate. We don’t get to pick and choose what we investigate as a policing agency.”

And of course, if there were a federal law ordering the detention of all Japanese-Canadians and Canadians with Japanese descent, I would expect the police to enforce those laws as well. They don’t get to “pick and choose” as a policing agency. They don’t have the luxury of disobeying orders, even when those orders violate simple rights.

Bill Vandergraaf is a retired Winnipeg police detective and medical cannabis user who promotes the end of drug prohibition, specifically cannabis.

“I would not, nor would I ever, ask the police not to do their job. This is a matter of law, bad law, but law nonetheless,” he told the Winnipeg Free Press, “My perspective it’s unfortunate how this particular law is enforced… it’s treated differently from one city to the next.”

“Toronto and Vancouver have dispensaries. Vancouver has about 100 of them and they’re talking about regulating them. That’s all we’re asking for in Winnipeg. That’s all Mr. Price has been asking for in Winnipeg,” Vandergraaf said.

Winnipeg City Councilor Ross Eadie said Winnipeg should follow Vancouver’s lead and regulate instead of raiding.

Before getting arrested, Glenn Price appeared on CinC Live where he reiterated his stance that he’s willing to go to the Supreme Court over his dispensary. “I’m not going to be quiet about this. I’m going to go as far as I can go.”

Glenn Price has since been released and joined Jason Wilcox and Chad Jackett for another interview last night on CinC Live. His attorney is Kirk Tousaw, the lawyer-cannabis activist responsible for getting the Owen Smith extract case to the Supreme Court (where they won) and, along with John Conroy, responsible for the Allard injunction.