The city of Port Alberni has seen seven new dispensaries open up since Justin Trudeau was first elected Prime Minister. The Liberal government made cannabis legalization part of their campaign, so a man in Port Alberni wasted no time in opening a cannabis dispensary right after the election.
Justin Liu, owner of WeeMedical thought that since legalization was promised, he could go ahead and open up a dispensary without worry. “The writing’s on the wall… the Liberals are in, it’s being legalized,” is what Justin was thinking at the time.
Currently however, his business could be in big trouble. He just received a letter from local RCMP today, which read “if your illegal business practices do not cease, I will consider taking action in the future which may include your business being subject to search and seizure of offense related evidence and persons associated with your business being subject to charges related to contraventions of the CDSA (Controlled Drugs and Substances Act) for unlawful possession of cannabis marijuana, for possession of cannabis marijuana for the purpose of trafficking and for trafficking cannabis marijuana.”
Port Alberni RCMP Inspector Mac Richards says that medical and recreational cannabis is still illegal under Canadian law, even though the city council recently voted yes to regulating the dispensaries.
One of the no votes was from former RCMP officer, Denis Sauve, “When I made an oath to this office, I made sure that I follow certain ethics to protect the community. The fact is that you’re asking the city to regulate an illegal activity—I’m not going to support letting this dispensary operate illegally,”
It is unclear how long dispensaries in Port Alberni will be able to do business, as the police could still shut down the operations in spite of the council’s vote to regulate. This is another example of how each city is reacting legislatively to federal cannabis legalization.