No enforcement yet at marijuana dispensaries

Nanaimo medical marijuana dispensaries are seeking regulations from City of Nanaimo.

Police have taken no enforcement action against medical marijuana dispensaries since the deadline  for storefronts to shut down passed last week, giving the Nanaimo Cannabis Coalition hope it’s won a cooling-off period.

But the Nanaimo RCMP never said enforcement would come on day eight or nine, says Supt. Mark Fisher.

Ten medical marijuana dispensaries were given a seven-day deadline from the Nanaimo RCMP on Nov. 12 to shut down or face potential enforcement, including arrests of employees and patrons on site.

While some dispensaries did close storefronts temporarily last week, coalition spokesman Matthew O’Donnell said they are currently open and there have been no raids. Members are still worried, however, about the threat of police action, according to O’Donnell, who hopes a cooling-off period has begun.

The coalition is now seeking government regulation and appeared at a council meeting Monday with Canadian Association of Medical Cannabis Dispensaries president Jamie Shaw to pitch the idea. Civic politicians made no move to look into regulating dispensaries as other communities, like Victoria and Port Alberni, have done.

Mayor Bill McKay called it an illegal activity and said regulating dispensaries won’t shield them from the law. He sees licensing and regulation happening only after the federal government changes the rules.

“People seem to believe that if the city simply licensed them and regulates them from a land-use perspective that all of their problems will go away. Nothing could be further from the truth,” he said.

Coun. Gord Fuller said council is in an information-gathering stage.

“There’s just way too much to look at right now… Vancouver, Victoria and now Port Alberni are all looking at different options with dealing with the dispensaries and I think we’re going to have to look at a Nanaimo option,” he said.

The RCMP investigation into dispensaries is ongoing. Fisher told the News Bulletin enforcement became a priority as people brought forward concerns about what they saw in dispensaries.

While the detachment superintendent is listening to political views on the issue, he says he has to make a policing decision for the community at the end of the day and with information others may not be privy to. Action is also based on the laws of today.

The Nanaimo RCMP never said it was going to take action immediately with dispensaries.

“We said we are giving you ample opportunity to make a decision and we’re letting you know we do view this as illegal activity and after the seven days you may very well be subject to some sort of enforcement action,” he said. “That’s exactly what the message said and that’s still the way it stands.”

Just Posted

Regional District of Nanaimo is seeking input from the public for its transit redevelopment strategy. (News Bulletin file)
Public input sought as RDN works on transit redevelopment strategy

RDN wants to know where people want bus stops, shelters and pedestrian and cycling connections

Douglas Holmes, current Alberni-Clayoquot Regional District chief administrative officer, is set to take on that position at the Regional District of Nanaimo come late August. (Submitted photo)
Regional District of Nanaimo’s next CAO keen to work on building partnerships

Douglas Holmes to take over top administrator role with RDN this summer

(PQB News file photo)
Fireworks report highlights enforcement challenges for Regional District of Nanaimo

Director: ‘I just think it’s wasting everybody’s time’

Neighbours fight a small late-night bush fire with garden hoses and shovels in Cinnabar Valley on June 5. They couldn’t get help from local fire services because the fire was located in an area under B.C. Wildfire Services jurisdiction. (Photo courtesy Muriel Wells)
Nanaimo residents on edge of city limits left to put out bush fire themselves

Cinnabar Valley residents tackle fire with hoses and buckets for two and a half hours

Nanaimo artist Dave Stevens is displaying paintings inspired by arbutus trees and the Millstone River at Nanaimo Harbourfront Library from now until the end of fall. (Josef Jacobson/News Bulletin)
Nanaimo writer and artist’s work goes up at Harbourfront library

Dave Stevens presents work inspired by arbutus trees and the Millstone River

Members of the Department of Fisheries and Oceans’ Marine Mammal Response Program rescued an adult humpback what that was entangled in commercial fishing gear in the waters off of Entrance Island on Thursday, June 10. (Photo courtesy Marine Mammal Response Program)
Rescuers free humpback ‘anchored’ down by prawn traps near Nanaimo

Department of Fisheries and Oceans responders spend hours untangling whale

Two-year-old Ivy McLeod laughs while playing with Lucky the puppy outside their Chilliwack home on Thursday, June 10, 2021. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
VIDEO: B.C. family finds ‘perfect’ puppy with limb difference for 2-year-old Ivy

Ivy has special bond with Lucky the puppy who was also born with limb difference

A million-dollar ticket was sold to an individual in Vernon from the Lotto Max draw Friday, June 11, 2021. (Photo courtesy of BCLC)
Lottery ticket worth $1 million sold in Vernon

One lucky individual holds one of 20 tickets worth $1 million from Friday’s Lotto Max draw

“65 years, I’ve carried the stories in my mind and live it every day,” says Jack Kruger. (Athena Bonneau)
‘Maybe this time they will listen’: Survivor shares stories from B.C. residential school

Jack Kruger, living in Syilx territory, wasn’t surprised by news of 215 children’s remains found on the grounds of the former Kamloops Indian Residential School

A logging truck carries its load down the Elaho Valley near in Squamish, B.C. in this file photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chuck Stoody
Squamish Nation calls for old-growth logging moratorium in its territory

The nation says 44% of old-growth forests in its 6,900-square kilometre territory are protected while the rest remain at risk

Flowers and cards are left at a makeshift memorial at a monument outside the former Kamloops Indian Residential School to honour the 215 children whose remains are believed to have been discovered buried near the city in Kamloops, B.C., on Monday, May 31, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
‘Pick a Sunday:’ Indigenous leaders ask Catholics to stay home, push for apology

Indigenous leaders are calling on Catholics to stand in solidarity with residential school survivors by not attending church services

“They will never be forgotten, every child matters,” says Sioux Valley Chief Jennifer Bone in a video statement June 1. (Screen grab)
104 ‘potential graves’ detected at site of former residential school in Manitoba

Sioux Valley Dakota Nation working to identify, repatriate students buried near former Brandon residential school

The Queen Victoria statue at the B.C. legislature was splattered with what looks like red paint on Friday. (Nicole Crescenzi/News Staff)
Queen Victoria statue at B.C. legislature vandalized Friday

Statue splattered with red paint by old growth forest proponents

Most Read