Even as the drug is due to be made legal next year, police forces across Canada continue to raid marijuana dispensaries and the latest in Nova Scotia are a pair in Pictou County, N.S.
“It is against the law to sell drugs, period,” says Sergeant Howard Dunbar of the Westville police. “Until such a time as the legislation is in place, that allows people to do such a thing, we'll have zero tolerance for this in this community.”
Police tape still covered the entrance of a marijuana dispensary in the town of Westville, N.S., Saturday.
The business was raided early Friday morning and the owner now faces charges of trafficking of a controlled substance, possession for the purpose of trafficking and failure to comply with a judicial recognizance.
There have been similar raids and police actions taken across the country in recent weeks, despite pending legislation from Ottawa.
Provinces including Nova Scotia, are working on plans for regulation and distribution and Sergeant Dunbar says that has resulted in a problem.
“People are tending to jump the gun and thinking that it's their god given right now to sell this stuff,” he says.
Another marijuana dispensary in the town of New Glasgow was raided earlier in the week as well and drug trafficking charges were laid.
The owner, Alden Landry says he's been made to feel like a criminal when all he wants to do is help people.
“All the while, patients that have come to trust us, and rely on us, and feel they could find relief here, have been suffering in the interim, during our down time,” Landry says.
Some residents in the area say they believe police measures against marijuana dispensaries in recent weeks have been too severe.
“It's not technically legal yet, but if people are only going in there with their license for medical marijuana, I don't see an issue with it,” says Samantha Hawke. “I don't understand why they're coming down so hard on them now.”
“I think they should have left it open because marijuana doesn't hurt nobody,” says Judy Fraser. “If you're taking marijuana, it's there for to help you, not to destroy you.”
A 53-year-old Westville business owner now remains in police custody and his first court appearance is scheduled for Monday, Sept. 11.
With files from CTV Atlantic’s Dan MacIntosh.