Port Alberni Dispensary Ordered to Close

A Port Alberni dispensary has received a cease and desist letter from the local RCMP after opening Oct. 26.

A letter from Inspector Mac Richards warned WeeMedical operator Justin Liu that if his “illegal business practices do not cease” the RCMP may take enforcement measures against the storefront.

“I will consider taking action in the future which may include your business being subject to search and seizure of offence 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,” Richards stated in the letter.

Liu said, despite the request, he has no plans to close and soon attitudes will shift on this issue, with the Liberal victory in the federal election and their promise to legalize cannabis.

“If you look at Vancouver, there’s more dispensaries than there are Starbucks,” Liu said. “We operate on the highest standard of if you need it medicinally—such as if you have fibromyalgia, cancer, irritable bowel syndrome, chronic migraines, chronic back pain, and you can prove that you do have those ailments then we’re substituting the typical drugs for that.”

City planner Scott Smith said the dispensary had not received approval from the municipal government.

At a Monday night council meeting, Trevor Bertrand from the Port Alberni Cannabis Club said the new dispensary needs to close.

“The storefront model doesn’t exist and is illegal,” Bertrand said. “Cannabis in these storefront models is coming from organized crime as they have no access to licensed producers.”

“They are basically storefront drug dealers.”

The Port Alberni Cannabis Club Facebook group stated it is a “local group of people who will be opening a Marijuana dispensary in Port Alberni” and planned to open its own dispensary when the business is legalized.

A message on the group wall warned customers from shopping at WeeMedical.

“If you buy from the dispensary on upper third tomorrow you run the risk of a possession charge as soon as you walk down the street,” the message read.

Councillor Chris Alemany said he expected the dispensary to come up a the next city council meeting, Nov. 9.