Pot shops in Nanaimo are scrambling in the face of an order from the city’s Mounties to shut down or face legal sanctions.
In a letter posted to advocacy group Cannabis in Canada’s website, Nanaimo RCMP warn the city’s four dispensaries they’re operating illegally and have seven days to close up, or staff could face arrest.
RCMP say they will be putting out a statement, but have yet to do so.
Matthew O’Donnell with the non-profit Phoenix Pain Management Society says it doesn’t make sense.
“The RCMP are wasting taxpayers’ money, their manpower, and resources and labour in cracking down on medicinal cannabis clubs, when there’s a lot more important issues that should be tended to here in Canada.”
He says dispensary operators are meeting tonight to figure out how to fight the closures.
“All the compassion clubs here in Nanaimo are going to be meeting up, basically in the cannabis communities to get together and figure out what our next step is.
Changing legal landscape
O’Donnell is also confused after newly minted prime minister Justin Trudeau campaigned on a pledge to legalize the recreational use of marijuana.
At the last meeting of the Union of BC Municipalities, a resolution was passed declaring they have the authority to license and regulate marijuana dispensaries.
Nanaimo’s mayor has not returned a request for comment.
Earlier this year, Health Canada sent letters to marijuana dispensaries in Vancouver, warning them to stop the illegal activity or face fines or jail time.
The city has recently embarked on a process of regulating the illegal businesses, which have flourished in many neighbourhoods.