N.B. police raid marijuana dispensaries, saying law hasn't changed yet
Published Tuesday, January 24, 2017 3:47PM AST
Last Updated Tuesday, January 24, 2017 7:21PM AST
Police cannot "hypothesize" what the Trudeau Liberals will do with their marijuana legislation, or when they will do it, a New Brunswick police chief said Tuesday as his force raided multiple dispensaries.
Six stores were raided by officers from the Saint John city police and nearby forces, echoing earlier raids in Halifax, Toronto, Montreal and elsewhere.
"The execution of today's search warrants at the unlicensed Saint John medical marijuana dispensaries should not come as a surprise to anybody," Chief John Bates said in a statement.
One of the shops was located on Germain Street in the city’s uptown, as well as dispensaries in the north end and three on the city's east side.
Chief John Bates said the force has clearly stated the dispensaries were operating illegally.
"We are wholly aware that the federal government is undertaking work and conversations are taking place that will undoubtedly change the landscape in this country as it pertains to the future lawful possession, use and distribution of marijuana," Bates said.
"However, we cannot hypothesize on what those changes will eventually be or when they will become the law of the land."
Ottawa is expected to table legislation in the spring to legalize marijuana, while a federal task force has recommended that sales be allowed to Canadians 18 years and older.
The raids come as concern to those two rely on medical marijuana.
"I think for people who use it medicinally, it's uber important and it's better than going to get it off the street for sure,” said medical marijuana advocate Kesha Stevens.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said last month Ottawa is moving "properly and responsibly" to legalize marijuana but the current law governing cannabis will stand until new legislation is ratified.
"It is our contention that the dispensaries we investigated and subsequently searched today were operating unlawfully," said Bates Tuesday.
With files from CTV Atlantic’s Mike Cameron and The Canadian Press.