RAIDS in Nanaimo: RCMP make good on 10 Cease-and-Desist Letters

By Cori Petersen

Ludicrous aspersions cast far and wide necessitated officials to serve warrants to enter, detain, search and confiscate medical Cannabis in all forms, at three med-pot locations in Nanaimo, BC. Accusations included sidewalk sale solicitation and sale to minors among other things.

RCMP Cpl. Jon Stuart was unable to comment regarding the five still operating, however two have ceased to operate, after received notification to shut down nearly three weeks ago.

Cease-and-desist letters were hand-delivered by the RCMP to 10 Medicinal Cannabis locations stating that on November 12th they would: have seven calendar days to comply with this notice or… be subject to police enforcement including the arrest of all employees and patrons on site and the seizure of all offence related property from the premises.”

However the very day after this move the Justice Minister Jody Wilson-Raybould spoke out against it.

“We were very clear in our platform and certainly we will be moving forward with this. I will be having discussion with my colleague [Public Safety] Minister Goodale on this matter,” Wilson-Raybould told

CBC’s Early Edition on November 13th.

A clash seems imminent in this case where on one had the Justice Minister appears concerned and seems to be opposed to this action… on the other hand you have the RCMP of Nanaimo claiming public-interest and safety issues for their justification.

“[Our] actions are related to our ongoing commitment to public safety and community safety initiatives. It is important that our position be made very clear,” received by CBC in an email from Const. Gary O’Brien.

Many activities that go unhindered today are still technically illegal, they continue unmolested in store fronts across the country in various forms. Cannabis Dispensaries, medical or otherwise, are not legal in Canada. However their closure is not constitutional due to medical need and therefore the resulting bloated courts from legal challenges waste money, said Kirk Tousaw, an expert in Cannabis Law.

“I had hoped that we were into a period of transition towards more rational approach to medical cannabis in this country with the change of government.” Tousaw said.

"We Are Shocked. We're Disgusted. We're Crushed" -Brandy Cavanaugh, Medical Marijuana Dispensary Manager

Cavanaugh suggests that closing the 10 dispensaries in Nanaimo will push pot into illicit market.

“This is putting [marijuana] back onto the streets. This is putting crime back onto the streets. This is putting it back into the children’s hands when it is not regulated,” said Cavanaugh.

Though very similar letters have been sent to med-pot locations in Vancouver as well as the Sunshine Coast, prior to a recent federal election, Vancouver’s police department has taken a different approach to that of the Nanaimo RCMP.

A commenter under the name of “carrotwax” had the following to say about today’s CBC’s story on the matter:

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“For those who say "wait for the laws to change", I remind you that activists such as the ones smoking publicly on "Cannabis Day" and those who took a chance and opened shops like these are major factors in why the laws are changing. 

The Vancouver Police are well known for collaborating with the community and trying to find a balance. They have also raided one or two pot shops where selling to minors or connections to the mafia were obvious. That's a good thing. A blanket bust like this shows how disconnected from the community and times the RCMP is.”

Nanaimo area Dispensary owners banded together overnight, with an emphasis on social ties in the Cannabis community, it is no wonder that in a small community their bonds are strong. Meetings, interviews and press has been their mission, being seen on nearly every Cannabis web-cast available to them and finding some they didn’t know existed to spread the word of this injustice.

World Cannabis asks you, if you agree that these actions are unjust, please register you displeasure with the Nanaimo City Manager, Tracy Samara by email atTracy.Samra@nanaimo.ca or by phone 250-755-4401. Also the RCMP Nanaimo division located at 303 Prideaux St., by phone (250) 754-2345. Let them know how you feel about this, thank you.

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