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Canada: Illegal Cannabis Dispensaries Shut Down By Police, Multiple Charges Pending

Ron Strider

Well-Known Member
City police shut down two illegal south Edmonton cannabis dispensaries and say charges are pending against the operators for "clearly" breaking the law prior to legalization of the drug anticipated next summer.

Officers called to a building near 46 Avenue and 101 Street on Nov. 30 after receiving a complaint later discovered 100 marijuana plants being cultivated on a premises illegally and without Health Canada authorization. In addition, a sophisticated distribution center stocked with large quantities of cannabis and cannabis products was uncovered, said police in a Thursday news release.

Then on Dec. 13, officers with the Edmonton Drug and Gang Enforcement Section (EDGE) executed warrants at a second operation near 109 Street and 78 Avenue. Investigators seized large quantities of cannabis products, including various cannabis edibles.

"These businesses are clearly in open violation of the law," said Insp. Shane Perka, with the Organized Crime Branch. "The sale of cannabis for recreational use is currently scheduled to become legal in Canada after July 1, 2018 — not today."

"If you're running an unregulated cannabis dispensary in our city prior to July 1, 2018, then you could face charges, whether you're an employee or an owner."

In consultation with the federal Crown, city police say any dispensaries currently operating without authorization from Health Canada could be found in contravention of various laws, including:

— Section 5(1) CDSA, trafficking a controlled substance;

— Section 5(2) CDSA, possession of a controlled substance for the purpose of trafficking;

— Section 355 CC, possession of the proceeds of crime;

— Section 7(1) CDSA, production of a controlled substance (where an illegal grow operation is found on the premises).

Illegal operations are also a threat to public safety, added Perka.

"Consumers accessing for-profit cannabis dispensaries currently not sanctioned by Health Canada, have no assurance these products meet federal safety guidelines. There is also the potential for cross-contamination with other illegal drugs that may have occurred during production," explained Perka.

"To be clear, it is not our objective as a police agency to try and deny anyone access to cannabis for medical purposes. We do, however, want to ensure the public is absolutely aware that these dispensaries are currently operating illegally, and outside the authorization of Health Canada."



News Moderator: Ron Strider 420 MAGAZINE ®
Full Article: Illegal cannabis dispensaries shut down by police, charges pending | Edmonton Journal
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