A longtime advocate of shutting down Vancouver’s marijuana dispensaries has filed a complaint with hopes of forcing the city to take action.
“We’re not going to let this happen without a fight. We do not want to see the promotion of drugs.”
Pamela McColl with the group “Smart Approaches to Marijuana Canada” says it’s easy for these businesses to be shut down.
“Look at Nova Scotia. They have no dispensaries. They shut them down. The RCMP went in and said, ‘Forget it,’ so this is a problem with the VPD and the powers that be and certainly, this mayor and council.”
Vancouver Police have raided nine dispensaries in the past couple of years, but they say shutting them down isn’t easy because city staff are responsible for revoking business licenses awarded to them.
McColl’s complaint is expected to be discussed at the September 17th VPD board meeting.
Yesterday, Vancouver’s mayor and council voted in favour of being the first city in Canada to regulate the dispensaries.
An NPA Vancouver city councillor, who voted against regulating pot shops, says critics should blame the mayor, not police, for failing to uphold federal laws by allowing the illegal dispensaries to flourish.
Melissa De Genova is responding, after the complaint filed with the Office of Police Complaints Commission by McColl.
“There is a whole lot of grey area in these regulations, I think it is unfair to blame the police when our mayor should have been setting the tone through leadership, as other mayors have in their municipalities, by shutting these shops down one by one.”
De Genova says she has no knowledge if the NPA will file a similar complaint.
The Vancouver Police Board will formally consider the complaint against police at a September 17th meeting.
As some marijuana dispensaries look to morph into compassion clubs to skirt the stiff licensing free under new city regulations, one cannabis expert says the city isn’t going far enough to separate recreational pot shops from medical ones.
UBC researcher and PhD candidate, Rielle Capler, says dispensaries under the retail licensing category are NOT required to be accredited by the Canadian Association of Medical Dispensaries.
“It’s important for dispensaries, if they are medical cannabis dispensaries, and this is what is suppose to be regulated, medical cannabis patients have distinct needs from recreational users, and if the purpose of these regulations is to address the needs of patients, then I think it is important to distinguish them.”
That accreditation is required for a shop to be classified as a Compassion Club.
Those dispensaries will only be forced to by a $1,000 fee, while their for-profit counterparts will be forced to fork out $30,000.