Enforcement Action Hurts Patients Most
The Canadian Association of Medical Cannabis Dispensaries (CAMCD) called yesterday’s Nanaimo RCMP enforcement action a completely inappropriate way to deal with dispensaries. “It’s like using a sledgehammer as a flyswatter,” said Jamie Shaw, the organization’s President, “and about as effective.”
With the clear direction given by Canadian voters to end prohibition, and Nanaimo city council voting last week 8-1 to receive information on regulating dispensaries,CAMCD is disappointed that the RCMP chose enforcement over engaging dispensaries with specific concerns. The organization believes this is a heavy-handed approach, and that it speaks volumes about the stigma still attached to cannabis and cannabis patients.
While dispensaries operate outside Canada’s medical cannabis program, not only have officials at all levels of government have been calling for their inclusion in a regulatory framework for the last two decades, several municipalities in the province have already begun to license them. Dispensaries are currently the only source for patients to access many edibles and derivatives, a right awarded to them in a recent Supreme Court of Canada ruling.
Vancouver Police Department estimates of dispensary investigation costs, if comparable, would mean the RCMP spent almost $100, 000 in Nanaimo yesterday. Municipalities that have engaged both dispensaries and their patients, and the broader community are managing the issue much more effectively, Shaw said, citing Kimberly and Victoria as recent examples.
In Vancouver, despite many concerns voiced by dispensaries with the city’s regulations, only two dispensaries out of over a hundred in the city had not applied for a license by the deadline. “At best, a successful enforcement action simply drives cannabis further underground, making it not only harder for patients, but also for both law enforcement and public officials to effectively address any issues that may arise.”
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