Canada’s federal police have raided three dispensaries in Nanaimo, British Columbia, further muddying the situation surrounding cannabis as the country moves forward with legalization marijuana for recreational use.
The Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) followed through on threats made Nov. 12, when agents hand-delivered letters to 10 Nanaimo medical marijuana dispensaries, ordering them to shut down within a week.
Dispensaries are technically illegal under federal law in Canada, though scores exist in the western part of the country.
Several complaints had been made against the dispensaries, officials with the local RCMP unit said, including selling to minors and soliciting sales from the sidewalk.
Nanaimo had been considering regulations for the dispensaries, similar to those passed this year by Vancouver, where dozens of dispensaries operate.
The RCMP does not have jurisdiction in Vancouver – where local police have decided not to enforce federal marijuana laws – and some other major cities in Canada, but it does in Nanaimo.
Canada’s new Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has vowed to legalize recreational cannabis, but how he will treat the unregulated, illegal dispensaries that currently exist is still unknown.
When asked last month about the RCMP’s attempts to close the dispensaries, Trudeau’s new justice minister said she would take up the issue with the public safety minister.