West Kelowna’s top cop say pot dispensaries are illegal

New detachment commander asked for RCMP’s position on marijuana dispensaries.

West Kelowna’s new top cop says marijuana dispensaries are illegal…period.

At the request of West Kelowna city staff, the city’s new RCMP detachment commander Lesli Roseberry has clarified the force’s position related to marijuana dispensaries.

At a meeting with council Friday, a statement from Roseberry was presented that indicated marijuana continues to be regulated as a controlled substance under the federal Controlled Drugs and Substances Act, which the RCMP has an obligation to enforce.

“The RCMP is responsible for enforcing Canadian laws, as they stand today,” said Roseberry in her statement. “Our communities expect that we will take enforcement action to meet this responsibility, and do so in an impartial and professional manner. There is no such thing as having a tolerance for marijuana dispensaries. Simply put, these dispensaries are illegal.”

Roseberry indicated that there is no legal mechanism available in Canada today which allows for a self-described “medical marijuana dispensary” or “compassion club” to function.

It is illegal to sell marijuana to the public, regardless of whether or not the purchasing individuals have licenses to possess marijuana or whether or not the vendor has a license to produce marijuana.

While the RCMP supports efforts to ensure that those permitted by the law have their required access to marijuana for medical purposes, the current legislation does not provide blanket legality to produce, use, or traffic marijuana.

“Owners or employees of a medical marijuana dispensary may be charged with trafficking in a controlled substance should evidence exist to support a charge,” said Roseberry.

“We support local businesses whose operations are conducted within the current scope of local, provincial and federal laws. Business operators who choose to conduct their operations outside of these laws may be investigated.”

West Kelowna council will consider first reading of a proposed zoning amendment bylaw to further regulate and provide clarity for commercial medical marijuana facilities in West Kelowna at its meeting on Tuesday, Feb. 14, 2017. The draft bylaw and staff report is available for review atwww.westkelownacity.ca/agendacenter.

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