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EDITORIAL – Busting pot shops not the best use of police and City resources

(Image: CFJC Today)

An ArmchairMayor.ca editorial by Mel Rothenburger.

ARMED WITH a search warrant, RCMP walked into the Canna Clinic medical marijuana dispensary on Hillside Drive yesterday, scooped up some evidence, and arrested two people. According to a City press release, it was a co-operative operation between police and the City.

Now, I swear I’ve heard a number of councillors say they want to welcome the retail cannabis industry to Kamloops and that their aim isn’t to bust all the currently operating illegal pot shops — just the problem ones.

True, there were apparently some complaints from nearby condo owners about this particular dispensary that aren’t yet totally clear so what’s a City to do? Licencing an illegal business isn’t something the City should get into. But given the upcoming change in the laws on cannabis across the country, you’ve got to wonder about the usefulness of such enthusiastic enforcement.

The raid follows up on much discussion around City council chambers on what to do about illegal pot dispensaries, and on visits to local pot shops by City business licence inspectors back in March.

But there’s such a thing as learning from history.

Seven years ago, RCMP swooped in on a pot shop on Tranquille Road and shut the place down with the rationale that it was breaking the law and that police were therefore obligated to do something about it.

Just like they were obligated to bust the Cannis Clinic yesterday.

In the 2011 case, charges were laid, a constitutional challenge was filed, and the charges were stayed three years later.

It’s not out of the realm of possibility that any Criminal Code charges arising out of yesterday’s arrests will still be moving forward at the speed of a snail long after recreational cannabis is officially legal, making enforcement against pot dispensaries — medical or recreational — a moot point.

As was the case with the Tranquille Road store seven years ago, this week’s raid looks more like discretionary enforcement than an urgently required police action. And it will hardly give Kamloops a reputation as an inviting place for the cannabis industry.

Police and City resources could surely be put to better use.

I’m Mel Rothenburger, the Armchair Mayor.

Mel Rothenburger’s Armchair Mayor editorials appear Mondays through Thursdays on CFJC- TV. His Armchair Mayor column is published Saturdays on ArmchairMayor.ca and CFJC Today. Contact him at mrothenburger@armchairmayor.ca.

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About Mel Rothenburger (6011 Articles)
ArmchairMayor.ca is a forum about Kamloops and the world. It has more than one million views. Mel Rothenburger is the former Editor of The Daily News in Kamloops, B.C. (retiring in 2012), and past mayor of Kamloops (1999-2005). At ArmchairMayor.ca he is the publisher, editor, news editor, city editor, reporter, webmaster, and just about anything else you can think of. He is grateful for the contributions of several local columnists. This blog doesn't require a subscription but gratefully accepts donations to help defray costs.

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