Canada: Marijuana socket crackdown makes no sense,” says criminologist

The legalization of pot might be looming but that does not mean authorities are backing away their crackdown on the “grey” marijuana marketplace.

Most recently, RCMP at Colchester County raided the Community Compassion Centre at Bible Hill. They captured money, marijuana, marijuana derivatives and drug paraphernalia, and billed Ricky Joseph Leclerc, 51, of Upper Kennetcook.

He is scheduled to appear at Nova Scotia provincial courtroom Friday.

“The RCMP will continue to work within the existing legislation under the Controlled Drug and Substances Act,” RCMP spokesman Cpl. Dal Hutchinson said Monday in an emailaddress. “If we determine that there is a violation of the legislation, we will take appropriate action.”

Criminologist Michael Boudreau stated the continuing crackdown on storefront pot shops makes no sense.

“I mean, one of the reasons why some of the police forces are tacitly on board with the legalization of cannabis, small amounts to 30 grams, is because it’s been over the years a tremendous waste of their resources,” Boudreau stated in an interview Monday in St. Thomas University in Fredericton, where he is chairman of its criminology department.

“Continuing to target the pot stores, the independently run stores, and it is occurring in Nova Scotia, in New Brunswick and other states, it is only foolhardy.

“These stores even in the best of times weren’t a part of this so-called black sector.

“The authorities would have us think in a number of those circumstances these shops were the fronts to the Hells Angels or what have you.

“The authorities have given very little proof to support that and in most instances these stores were promoting more medicinal marijuana rather than recreational marijuana”

Sometime this summer — probably in August, given the development of Bill C-45 throughout the national legislative system — marijuana will be legalized in Canada. In Nova Scotia, the medication is going to be marketed at nine Nova Scotia Liquor Commission outlets.

Operators of storefront pot dispensaries state their product is for medicinal use and assert they have the inherent right to do so.

When requested if Nova Scotia RCMP are creating more of a concerted attempt to crack down on pot shops before legalization,” Hutchinson stated in his emailed response that “the RCMP sets enforcement priorities in consultation with local government, partners and citizens of the community. Businesses operating in contravention of the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act may be subject to investigation and criminal charges in accordance with Canadian laws.”

A spokesman in the federal RCMP headquarters, that responded by email, echoed this answer.

“Police enforcement concerning unlicensed cannabis distributors might vary between communities as police agencies in Canada

work closely with neighborhood stakeholders to identify potential risks and vulnerabilities and prioritize public security goals,” stated

Sgt. Harold Pfleiderer on Monday.

“The RCMP works closely with police agencies across the country to tackle organized crime, and remains committed to enforcing the CDSA in the communities it serves across Canada.”

Boudreau said authorities should be taking advantage of their personal vendors’ experience rather than placing them at the courtroom.

Every state except Alberta intends to sell marijuana in authorities outlets like liquor stores.

“Frankly under the new regime the provinces like Nova Scotia (and) New Brunswick should have continued with this hybrid model of private and public sales, as Alberta is doing,” he explained.

“Only because arguably the folks who are running these shops now are just as well versed in how to sell cannabis in a responsible manner as the folks that are going to be trained by the provinces in the public system.”

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