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Edmonton Police Raid ‘Openly Operating’ Illegal Cannabis Dispensaries

Edmonton Police Raid ‘Openly Operating’ Illegal Cannabis Dispensaries

Dina Al-Shibeeb
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Edmonton police on Dec. 13 executed warrants at one of the allegedly illegal dispensaries operating from a “store-front location”. Investigators seized large quantities of cannabis products, including edibles. 

Edmonton Police said in a statement on Thursday that “multiple drug-related charges” against several individuals, who have links with two illegal cannabis dispensaries, are “pending” after “receiving a complaint” in late November.

Following the raid, the police discovered about 100 marijuana plants being grown without Health Canada authorization. They also found a “sophisticated” distribution centre stocked with large quantities of cannabis and marijuana products including edibles.

The second raid at one of the alleged illegal dispensaries operating from a “store-front location” was executed on Dec. 13, the police said.

These businesses are clearly in open violation of the law,” said Insp. Shane Perka, of the EPS Organized Crime Branch.

Recreational Sale is Illegal

Perka emphasized that the “sale of cannabis for recreational use” continues to be illegal despite Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s determination to make marijuana fully legal in the summer of 2018.

“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,” he warned.

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EPS has warned dispensaries currently operating without any authorization from Health Canada could be found guilty of trafficking and possession of drugs.

“To be clear, it is not our objective as a police agency to try and deny anyone access to cannabis for medical purposes,” said, adding “we do, however, want to ensure the public is absolutely aware that these dispensaries are currently operating illegally, and outside the authorization of Health Canada.”

So far, dispensaries operating without authorization from Health Canada could be found in contravention of various laws, including:

  • Section 5(1) CDSA, Trafficking a Controlled Substance
  • Section 5(2) CDSA, Possession of a Controlled Substance for the Purpose of Trafficking
  • Section 355 CC, Possession of the Proceeds of Crime
  • Section 7(1) CDSA, Production of a Controlled Substance (where an illegal grow operation is found on the premises).
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