In Saskatoon, police and the courts are dealing with the city’s first medical marijuana dispensary following a raid last Thursday. But the city of Kimberley, B.C. is having a markedly different experience.
Mayor Don McCormack said he learned a lot as Kimberley city council hashed out whether to grant their dispensary a business license. He said he was surprised to find out that the bulk of the customers being served are from the baby boomer set.
“The vast majority – like 75 or 80 per cent of the clients – are all 50 to 60 to 80 years old,” he said.
Overall, he said there’s been little to no pushback after council’s decision to give the dispensary the go-ahead.
“The community has felt that we have made a progressive decision on an issue that is long overdue for resolution and I think we’re pretty proud of council for taking a stand on this,” he said. `
McCormack acknowledged that dispensaries’ legal status is murky at best. With that in mind, he said he’d still like to see Ottawa step up to the plate on marijuana laws.
“It will need to have some legislative changes to control the market in place and the federal government is going to have to get on top of that, but I believe it’s going to happen and it’s going to happen soon.
Even though RCMP handle policing in Kimberley, McCormack said the dispensary issue in B.C. is effectively dead as far as law enforcement is concerned.
“The reason why this grey area has existed for the last 15 years is because there have been relatively few, if any, convictions. Law enforcement doesn’t like that type of scenario. When they go in and arrest somebody, or take action on a business or an individual, they like to know that there will be a high probability of success,” he said.
Saskatoon Mayor confident in police chief
Mayor Don Atchison said what’s happening in other cities simply isn’t happening in Saskatoon and until the laws are amended, he expects the city police force to enforce the laws.
“I have full confidence in our police Chief Clive Weighill, and the laws are the laws for everyone, people aren’t allowed to pick and choose whether or not they speed through school zones, you can’t pick or choose if you get tickets from photo radar,” Atchison said Tuesday on the Brent Loucks Show.
Atchison added if prime minister-designate Justin Trudeau amends the laws around medical marijuana dispensaries, then those shops need to wait for those changes to happen or else they’re operating illegally.
When educated on how other cities in Canada are coping with medical marijuana dispensaries, where city councils have issued special business licences to allow dispensaries to operate legally, Atchison said that’s simply not the case in Saskatoon adding Saskatoon isn’t the only city to where dispensaries have been shut down.
“That’s up to the police chiefs and those lands and I guess it’s up to the courts to decide in the end what it is but in the end the laws are the laws and I don’t think you get to pick and choose,” Atchison said. “Saskatoon isn’t the only place.”