Criminologist: Canadian Police Find Little Evidence Linking Pot Shops to Gangs

A Canadian criminologist said the Canadian federal police aren’t clear when offering evidence linking marijuana storefronts and gang groups like the Hell’s Angels.

In an interview with The Chronicle Herald daily, Michael Boudreau, a criminologist from St. Thomas University in Fredericton, said the continued crackdown by federal Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) over these shops doesn’t make sense.

“The police would have us believe in some of these cases these stores were the fronts for the Hells Angels or what have you,” he said.

The professor added: “The police have provided very little evidence to support that and in many cases, these shops were selling more medicinal marijuana as opposed to recreational marijuana.”

Bourdeau dubbed the continued crackdown as “waste” of resources.

“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 said.

“Continuing to target the pot shops, the privately run shops, and it’s happening in Nova Scotia, in New Brunswick and other provinces, it’s just foolhardy.

“These shops even at the best of times were not part of the so-called black market.”

RCMP to continue clampdown

While a nationwide marijuana legalization is looming, the RCMP said in a statement that it will continue its crackdown over what it deems as violations of the current law.

RCMP spokesman Cpl. Dal Hutchinson said Monday in an email to The Chronicle Herald that “the RCMP will continue to work within the existing legislation under the Controlled Drug and Substances Act.”

He added:

“If we determine that there is a violation of the legislation, we will take appropriate action.”

In its most recent crackdown, the RCMP raided the Community Compassion Centre in Bible Hill in Nova Scotia, seizing cash, marijuana, marijuana derivatives and drug paraphernalia.

The federal police also charged the 51-year-old Ricky Joseph Leclerc, who is expected to appear in a court on Friday.