Saskatoon’s police chief called on the federal government to clarify the country’s laws on cannabis to end the “grey-zone” surrounding the industry.
Clive Weighill, who also serves as Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police president, said the “the police aren’t anti-marijuana” but wanted to remind Canadians that cannabis is against the law
“We’ve been asking the government to send a strong message out: the laws have not changed yet,” Weighill said. “I think there is a big misunderstanding here that people think it’s going to be a free-for-all.”
Weighill thinks, when regulations are in place, the cannabis industry will look similar to alcohol, where producers and retail outlets are controlled at the provincial level.
While the federal Liberal government moves forward with legalization, Weighill said medical marijuana dispensaries that have opened across the country need to be routinely closed as they are still illegal.
Mark Hauk, whose medical dispensary was raided by Weighill’s Saskatoon police, said the chief statements were “a pile of absolute rubbish.”
“How about taking a sensible approach, and do as we have been asking and create regulations around how many clubs can operate, where they can operate and who can operate them? Many municipalities have done just this. To great success,” Hauk said. “Taking a thoughtful, progressive approach that both balances public safety while respecting patients right to access. Does that not seem like the logical approach here?”
“There has to be equality before the law. We can’t let one open up and one not open up,” Weighill said, pointing to Vancouver as an “anomaly” in the country, allowing medical dispensaries to remain open.
Hauk said Vancouver is far from the only city to allow medical dispensaries to remain open.
“There are over 300 brick and mortar dispensaries in this country today. Some cities have even been progressive enough to create regulations, and in some cases issue business licenses. And out east, dispensaries are opening at a torrid pace, with over 40 of them now operating in Toronto alone,” said Hauk.