The Royal Canadian Mounted Police is raiding and closing illegal cannabis stores just like it did before legalization.
Just because we can buy weed with our credit cards now doesn’t mean that things are that much different.
This change was definitely a change for the better, however, many Canadians are extremely unhappy with the way the federal government and the provinces are handling the situation.
This is partly due to the lack of preparation time that the provinces had.
The provincial leaders warned that this might happen. The federal government rushed too much to prepare everything needed for legalization by October 17th.
We all knew that the end result of all that rushing won’t be pretty, but we went with it anyway.
Now we are facing a lackluster shipping system, high prices, and an under-educated police force.
The biggest potential for causing issues to the public are the provincial governments.
Their inability to handle the number of licenses which businesses applied for could potentially bring people at risk.
Illegal cannabis stores are still in danger
Even though the BC government announced earlier in the year that the existing cannabis infrastructure may survive, there are no indications that this will actually happen.
However, this was only said to be the case only with rural communities.
The store owners didn’t really take the government too seriously, or they just thought “Well they won’t come after me, there are 100’s of other stores around”.
Either way, the RCMP came knocking.
Two store managers operating on Vancouver Island said that the police seized thousands of dollars worth of marijuana around Wednesday noon.
The police closed the first dispensary, Port Alberni Cannabis Club, at 11 AM. The second one, Leaf Compassion Cannabis Dispensary, got closed at 2 PM.
The police closed both stores because of a lack of a sales license.
The general manager of Leaf Compassion Cannabis Dispensary, Eric Veseranta, said that the RCMP impounded all the products in the store and wrote him a ticket for $575 CAD.
Eric said that he intends to dispute the ticket and that the BC government is to blame for this.
“It’s literally all the government’s fault with not having applications ready on time,” Eric said. “Everybody filled them out in time, but the government didn’t give them back in time for legalization.”
On the other side of the country, the police closed another store in St. John’s dispensary in the same manner.
RCMP raids are happening across the country
The Newfoundland police executed a search and seizure warrant at around 10 PM, bagging and tagging everything on its way.
The RCMP said the following in a statement:
“In accordance with the new legislation and regulations, cannabis is to be sold exclusively at government-run stores, licensed private retailers, and the BC government’s online store.”
Corporal Amelia Hayden with Port Alberni RCMP said that her task force priorities are set in consultation with several parties.
Sgt. Janelle Shoihet said that no other raids in BC are in the pipeline.
According to Public Safety Minister Mike Farnworth, illegal dispensaries should close their doors and wait for their license.
The RCMP refused to answer the question of whether future operations like this will take place soon. That silence is most likely a “very likely yes”.
A spokesperson from the Ministry of Attorney General said that legislation prevented the province from issuing a retail store license until federal legalization came into force.
However, he did not explain which legislation the province was referring to.
British Columbia has only one licensed retail store so far, which leaves a lot of room for expansion.
The licenses need to start flying all over the place because there are people who aren’t adept at buying weed online. Some people simply prefer the traditional retail experience.
Hopefully the provinces will get a grip on the system soon and start issuing licenses in a more expedited manner.