EDITORIAL: Hazy rules surround marijuana shops

We say: If no regulation is in place, authorities are condoning an illegal activity

Whether you cheer or jeer the opening of Sooke’s first pot shop, you should know the rules around marijuana dispensaries are hazy at best.

While Sooke Medijuana Dispensary lays itself out to be a weed pharmacy, it’s doing so illegally, according to Health Canada and the RCMP.

Right now, only licensed producers authorized by Health Canada – just 30 across the country – are allowed to sell pot through the mail to those with verified prescriptions.

But that hasn’t stopped such dispensaries from popping up across the country. And as the federal Liberals push forward with their plans to legalize pot, more are sure to follow.

Police say that while “technically” it’s still illegal, dispensaries fall into a grey area and will continue to do so until the federal government legalizes all marijuana.

“My preference would be that there wasn’t any marijuana dispensary in town,” said Sooke RCMP Staff Sgt. Jeff McArthur.

Sooke council is turning a blind eye to the legalities of selling marijuana from a storefront. One councillor wouldn’t even dare to comment on it.

Marijuana dispensaries seemed to have fallen through the cracks of the legal system ever since the Supreme Court struck down the ban on medical marijuana patients growing their own pot calling it unconstitutional.

James Whitehead, who runs Medijuana Dispensary, is crying out for regulation.

“Right now, there is very little legal difference between someone selling out of their basement versus a dispensary.”

All of this has put the police, federal government and marijuana dispensaries in an awkward position.

The solution is regulation – or at least a strong sign from government that it intends to legalize or permit this use soon. Otherwise, authorities are condoning an illegal business and that is just ethically wrong.

•••

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