Hamilton Police Service: Illegal Cannabis Dispensaries can be ‘Frustrating’

Hamilton police service can't keep up with the dispensaries

The focus was on enforcement challenges related to 46 illegal cannabis dispensaries as the Hamilton Police Service presented its 2018 budget request to the city council.

The proposed $161-million budget represents a funding increase of 2.45 percent. Superintendent Ryan Diodati says executing search warrants, and the seizure and storage of evidence are time-consuming. Diodati is a representative for the Hamilton Police Service.

He said it’s “frustrating” because “more often than not” the illegal dispensaries are reopening with stocks refilled “either the same day or the very next day.” This is whether or not the police have gone in and cleaned them out “of every THC based product in there.”

Hamilton Police Service

Hamilton Police Service find edibles and other oils
Three people face charges after the latest police seizure of THC based products at an illegal dispensary in Stoney Creek. via Global News

The police raided Wellness Glass Company on King Street in Stoney Creek this Wednesday. Investigators seized more than 14 pounds of processed marijuana. Also, along with marijuana, they found a large quantity of THC based products, edibles, and oils. In addition, three adults had been arrested and are facing several drug-related charges. Police released them on a ‘Promise to Appear’ in court on March 7.

“A concern to police was that several items seized during the search were edibles looking like homemade baked goods,” a police news release said.

Diodati stresses that drug culture is an underlying theme related to last year’s 9.2-percent increase in violent crime in Hamilton. Furthermore, he notes that the people responsible for investigating dispensaries are also responsible for investigating opioid-based drugs like Fentanyl and Carfentanil.

What’s in Store?

hamilton police service
Marijuana is pictured in a vending machine at the BC Pain Society in Vancouver, B.C. via MacLeans

Marijuana possession will be legal in Canada by July, but police say until then, they’ll enforce existing laws.

“The Hamilton Police Service will continue to investigate all allegations of criminal activity. This will include the sale and trafficking of marihuana from dispensaries,” police said in a media release earlier this month.

In Ontario, the LCBO will distribute legal marijuana through government-regulated stores. Hamilton and Brantford are among the first communities to get stores. The LCBO says it’s still scouting locations. Some marijuana and dispensary advocates question whether one Hamilton store will be enough to meet demand.

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