Drug charges pending against illegal Edmonton cannabis dispensaries

The Canadian Press
December 22, 2017
By The Canadian Press
EDMONTON — Police say multiple drug-related charges against several individuals are pending following the discovery of two illegal cannabis dispensaries in Edmonton.

A release from the city’s police service says officers responded to a complaint on Nov. 30 and found about 100 marijuana plants being cultivated on a premises without Health Canada authorization.

A sophisticated distribution centre stocked with large quantities of cannabis and cannabis products was also uncovered.

On Dec. 13, investigators searched a second illegal dispensary operating from a store-front location.

They seized large quantities of cannabis products, including edibles.

Insp. Shane Perka of the police’s organized crime branch says the businesses are clearly in open violation of the law.

“The sale of cannabis for recreational use is currently scheduled to become legal in Canada after July 1, 2018 — not today,” Perka said in the release Thursday.

“If you’re running an unregulated cannabis dispensary in our city prior to July 1, 2018, then you could face charges, whether you’re an employee or an owner.”

Edmonton police, in consultation with the federal Crown, have determined that dispensaries currently operating without authorization from Health Canada could face various charges, including trafficking of a controlled substance, production of a controlled substance and possession of the proceeds of crime.

Proactive policing of these dispensaries is especially important for purposes of public safety, said Perka.

“Consumers accessing for-profit cannabis dispensaries currently not sanctioned by Health Canada have no assurance these products meet federal safety guidelines,” he said.

“There is also the potential for cross-contamination with other illegal drugs that may have occurred during production.”

News from © Canadian Press Enterprises Inc., 2017

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