Less than a week after being raided by the Nanaimo RCMP, three dispensaries have reopened, and are vowing to defy police.
Anita Roy manages the Trees dispensary in Nanaimo, and says a crackdown by Mounties this week won’t keep her doors closed.
“We have reopened, out of defiance, as an act of civil disobedience. We are fully prepared to be arrested again. If I get arrested, then somebody else will take my place. And if they get arrested, somebody else will take their place in a Ghandi style.”
Roy says her dispensary follows strict rules, only selling marijuana products to people with valid medical reasons. She says keeping her shop open is a matter of rights, ensuring people in Nanaimo can buy medical marijuana in their own city — particularly when it’s available elsewhere on the Island.
“I’m 60 years old, what have I got to lose? I help so many people, you know I’m brought to tears when people come in and say ‘ you saved my life.’ What am I supposed to do, say I’m sorry, it’s not legal – you can go down to Victoria or Vancouver to get it?”
Roy is also upset the police have chosen to crack down on them at at time when pot laws are in flux. She says with Ottawa pledging to legalize the drug, police are wasting time and resources trying to close them down.
“We understand perfectly well that it’s illegal technically. We’re also aware that the federal provincial and municipal governments are not against us, and have told us so. And the mayor of Victoria has even written a letter to Trudeau saying ‘What gives?'”
She says she’s spoken with all three dispensaries raided earlier this week, and they plan to defy police together.
READ MORE: Nanaimo RCMP raid pot shops
Mounties raided Trees, along with the Nature’s Source dispensary and the Phoneix Pain Management society this past Tuesday, shutting down the stores and arresting some employees.
It came several weeks after the detachment sent a letter to the city’s pot shops ordering them to shut their doors or face legal consequences.
The city’s dispensaries complied, but three reopened shortly after, and were subsequently served with search warrants.
The dispute has been brewing for months, with Nanaimo RCMP reporting several complaints, including one allegation that a dispensary sold pot to a 15-year-old.
READ: Nanaimo RCMP statement on dispensary raids