Saint John dispensary patients locked out by police

The status of medical cannabis patients in New Brunswick’s largest city remains up in the air after police raided six different dispensaries at once earlier this week.

Twelve people — owners and employees — were arrested during the raids by Saint John police Jan. 24 and are now facing charges of possession for the purpose of trafficking. Police have not identified any of the arrested individuals, who were released on a promise to appear in court May 2 to face charges.

They’re also not saying what conditions were placed on the 12 when they were released, and search warrants have been sealed.

The Maritimers Unite for Medical Marijuana Society have launched a letter-writing campaign to make sure all levels of government know about the raids and the issues involved in medicinal cannabis use.

“Maritimers Unite for Medical Marijuana Society are shocked and saddened by the actions of Saint John Police Force with the raids on six medical cannabis dispensaries,” the organization said in a news release.

Police seized the inventory at two Medicinal Grounds locations, two HBB Medical storefronts, King Canna and BCW Medical. Details about the size and value of the seizures have not yet been released by police.

In September, Chief John Bates told CBC News that medical marijuana dispensaries weren’t a top priority for the police force.

“We have crime issues that we’re endeavouring to tackle, societal issues like homelessness, vagrancy, and panhandling in the uptown we’re trying to cure,” Bates said at the time.

HBB Medical Inc. posted on Facebook that all previously scheduled Skype appointments between their clients and their doctor would proceed on-site.

“Anyone that had their appointment for yesterday, please send a [private message] and we will get you rescheduled. Sorry for the inconvenience,” the post states.

The federal Liberal Party has announced plans to legalize cannabis this spring.