Marijuana dispensaries unsure what future holds
Published Tuesday, October 16, 2018 9:13PM ADT
As of 12:01 a.m. Wednesday, you will be legally allowed to purchase cannabis in Canada.
While some are looking forward to legalization, dispensaries that have been selling marijuana for years are tonight unsure what their future holds.
Some say they are closing up to avoid getting in trouble with the law.
Herbal Bud is one of a number of dispensaries in Halifax that have closed their storefront ahead of the Oct. 17 legalization date.
That's because even though recreational cannabis will be legal, the only place consumers can lawfully purchase it is at one of 12 NSLC outlets.
“What I'm seeing is that those stores that are operating in a 19-plus or recreational model are preemptively closing ahead of October 17,” said Chris Enns, the owner of Farm Assists.
“However, it's my understanding that those stores in Halifax that are exclusively serving the medically licensed population will continue to fill that charter void.”
While some dispensaries have decided to close up shop altogether, others, like HBB Medical are planning to move their business online.
Greenhouse Wellness has a sign posted encouraging customers to boycott the liquor store and support local dispensaries.
Under new legislation, dispensaries that continue to operate after Wednesday could face hefty fines starting at $10,000.
When it comes to enforcement, police say their main focus is on drugs and guns.
“Some of these dispensaries have had other illegal drugs in their possession and we’re working with them one at a time,” said Halifax Regional Police Chief Jean-Michel Blais. “We have about 40 of those dispensaries here in HRM. We will be working with dealing with them on a regular basis. Our hope is that the market will be bringing some correction in that area.”
Despite being the target of multiple raids, Farm Assists says they will be opening their doors Wednesday and are prepared if police come rolling up.
“We're treating business as status quo,” Enns said. “As long as individuals have a medical authorization to access cannabis, we'll continue to be here to provide those products. If we're not in jail, we will be open.”
Recreational cannabis will officially be on sale starting at 10 a.m. Wednesday.
Staff at a number of marijuana dispensaries throughout the municipality did not wish to speak on camera Tuesday about their future plans. They said they're worried about being raided.
With files from CTV Atlantic’s Natasha Pace.