Editorial: Pot shops had to be closed

NANAIMO – Police raided local medical marijuana dispensaries on Tuesday and it was something that needed to be done.

The Nanaimo RCMP decided that where there’s pot smoke, there’s fire, and they snuffed it out.

Police raided local medical marijuana dispensaries on Tuesday and it was something that needed to be done. We agree with a lot of the arguments to legalize or decriminalize marijuana, but we recognize that those sorts of laws aren’t in place yet. When we disagree with the laws of the land, we can protest them, but Nanaimo’s dispensaries were basically flouting the law and going far beyond a little bit of civil disobedience.

It took police many months to carry out the drug busts. That might simply mean that the investigation process was complicated, but maybe it suggests that enforcement was a difficult decision. If that’s the case, we understand why – not all forms of rule-breaking are alike, and some offences are more serious than others.

We do think the dispensaries are pretty harmless. The RCMP indicated that public safety was one of the reasons it warned pot shops to close, and that’s a tenuous argument. We question, in most cases, marijuana’s medicinal properties, but it’s less harmful than a lot of things we put in our bodies.

The problem is that since it’s illegal to start with, it isn’t subject to the same supplemental regulations like food and drug inspections, for instance. We don’t know from where the product was sourced or how it got from the grow-op to the pot shop.

Canada’s new attorney general has been given a mandate to work with provinces and territories on a process leading to the legalization of marijuana. With legalization will come regulation, taxation and education. Medical marijuana dispensaries weren’t providing those things – they were dealing drugs.