THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP/Jim Mone

UPDATE: West Kelowna RCMP issue letter to pot dispensaries

The letter was issued today

Update: 6:30 p.m

The acting officer in charge of the West Kelowna RCMP says the letter issued to the operators of the five marijuana dispensaries operating in the city is “fair warning” of the consequences they will face if they remain open.

Speaking to the Capital News Tuesday evening, Insp. Anna Marie Mallard declined to say what the consequences will be but she said police continue to be concerned about what she described as the “illegal acquisition of an illegal drug” at the dispensaries. And she vowed the police will continue to enforce the Controlled Substances Act.

Mallard confirmed no deadline for closure was given to the dispensaries in the letter and said the letter was not delivered on behalf of the City of West Kelowna, it came directly from the police.

The city has already rescinded the business licences of two dispensaries—Black Crow Herbals and The Healing Club—and has said it is fining the dispensaries $1,000 a day for remaining open in defiance of its order to close.

At Tuesday night’s West Kelowna council meting, Mallard was asked about the issue by Coun. Rusty Ensign but all Mallard said was it’s the RCMP’s position that to date there is no legal way to acquire the products that are sold out of the dispensaries.

Original:

The West Kelowna RCMP has issued a letter calling on medical marijuana dispensaries to halt operations.

According to Selina Lau, of Black Crow Herbal Solutions, the notice came as a surprise.

“It just says if we continue to engage in illegal business practices, the West Kelowna RCMP will consider taking action which may include the arrest of persons associated with your business, employees and/or customers, searches of your business and seizure of offense-related evidence and the recommendation of charges against those involved.”

Lau said all the dispensaries in West Kelowna were given a hand-delivered letter.

“Why are they doing it now? We have no idea, it’s ridiculous,” she said.“We are not going to abandon our patients, we are going to be here for our patients.”

She asked why is it coming down the pipes now as legalization is around the corner.

The public is going to be affected the most, she said. Lau, who has two dispensaries in West Kelowna, one has been operating for three years and the other for two, said city councillors and the RCMP approved the locations.

Lau also has an operation in Vernon, which she said hasn’t been a problem. “Vernon city council has been giving everyone temporary-use permits.”

The letter did not give a timeframe for the dispensary to cease operations.

Previously, bylaw officers visited the six West Kelowna dispensaries Nov. 1, and only one has ceased operation.

During presentations to council in October, representatives of both Black Crow and The Healing Club asked council to hold off on any decision until it is known how the province plans to proceed with the distribution and retail of marijuana in B.C. once it is legalized in Canada by the federal government July 1, 2018.

The Capital News has a reporter at a West Kelowna council meeting tonight, where the RCMP will be asked for further details.

To report a typo, email: edit@kelownacapnews.com.


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carli.berry@kelownacapnews.com

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