California medical marijuana dispensary owner faces at least 5 years in jail on federal charges despite following local regulations

One thought on “California medical marijuana dispensary owner faces at least 5 years in jail on federal charges despite following local regulations

  1. TORONTO – They’re not just blowing smoke. Jan 16, 2016

    Canada’s licensed medical marijuana producers are calling on the federal government to put an end to illegal marijuana dispensaries across the country.

    The Canadian Medical Cannabis Industry Association, which represents the 27 cannabis producers licensed and inspected by Health Canada, says these dispensaries – 100 in Vancouver and nearly 50 in Toronto alone – have sprouted up aggressively over the past year or so and put public safety in danger.

    “The situation is getting out of control,” the association’s executive director Colette Rivet said in a statement. “In the past few months, more than 30 dispensaries have opened in Toronto, selling illegal, unregulated marijuana to people, many of whom are not aware that they are breaking the law.”

    Rivet is concerned products sold at dispensaries come from unknown sources without quality control, no guarantee they don’t contain contaminants, no product recall system, and no interest “in properly protecting the interests of legitimate medical cannabis patients.

    “It’s time for the federal government to step in and bring clarity to the situation, by clearly explaining the legal status of medical and non-medical cannabis, and stopping the rapid spread of illegal marijuana stores,” Rivet said. “The current environment of uncertainty is benefiting criminal organizations, which is counter to the federal government’s stated policy of divorcing cannabis production and distribution from criminal elements.”

    B.C. Supreme Court justice Paul Walker ruled earlier this week that operating a marijuana dispensary is illegal, and granted the City of Abbotsford an injunction to shut down a dispensary.

    A spokesman from the Department of Justice Canada said it would be premature to speculate on what the upcoming legalization of marijuana will look like and until then, existing laws remain in force.

    “(Dispensaries) sell untested products that may be unsafe and of particular risk to kids,” said spokesman Ian McLeod. “They are supplied by illegal growers. These are exactly the concerns that the government’s plans will address.”

    Until then, it’s up to local authorities to police dispensaries, McLeod added.

    The Canadian Association of Medical Cannabis Dispensaries say that CMCIA is “shooting the messenger.

    “Any call to close dispensaries right now while we’re trying to figure out what legalization will look like will directly and adversely affect tens of thousands of patients across the country,” said the organization’s president Jamie Shaw.

    “We pointed out all along the system was flawed. They chose to invest anyway and are now blaming us for the fact they’re not doing well.”

    jenny.yuen@sunmedia.ca

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