With news today that the Nanaimo RCMP has raided three marijuana dispensaries, the murky legal area where the shops operate is again in the spotlight.
The move has some questioning whether a crackdown on the businesses might be brewing.
That’s certainly what Kash Heed says is coming.
Speaking on the Lynda Steele show, the former West Vancouver Police Chief and BC Solicitor General says action is needed to get criminals out of the industry.
“I’m not surprised. As a matter of fact you’re going to see a lot more of these raids take place wherever these dispensaries pop up. They’e supporting the black market, because there’s no way they can get their product from a legal source.”
Heed says the problem is that dispensaries aren’t buying through the legal system — the 26 federally licensed producers who sell via internet and courier to people with a verified medical condition.
He says those producers quality control their product, test its potency, and look for contaminants. By contrast, he says many dispensaries will sell to virtually anyone, while propping up illegal activity.
— bcrcmp (@bcRCMP) December 1, 2015
READ MORE: Nanaimo RCMP raid pot shops
Crackdown vs. legalization?
Heed says he thinks Nanaimo is setting the right example, as Canada moves to new regulations.
“I’m a little disappointed about what is going on in Vancouver, but I’m actually pleased of Nanaimo’s action on these three dispensaries.”
While some have complained the crackdown flies in the face of the Federal Liberals’ pledge to legalize pot, Heed says the two actually go hand in hand.
“We have to remove the black market if we are truly going to have it.”
He says the country needs to resist the urge to rush in, and create a new set of rules thoughtfully – particularly since we’re being watched by a global audience.
Heed says he’d like to see the marijuana industry split into two streams – one medical, and the other recreational, and that Ottawa will need to work with the provinces to come up with a distribution system similar to how we handle liquor.
He says ideally, the feds would draft legislation early next year. That would allow about a year to study the issue and still have the policy in place by early 2017.
“That way it comes right into the budget cycle, and we can get some tax revenue from the recreational sales.”