Police raids Winnipeg Compassion Club shops and Send a Message

Police raid two marijuana storefronts, call them 'illegal dispensaries'

Winnipeg Compassion Club ends operations after 3 men are charged from police raid last week.

Police raided two Winnipeg Compassion Club shops last Monday on McPhillips Street and Pembina Highway. Police seized approximately $25,000 worth of marijuana, $20,000 of the plant in alternative forms and $6,000 in cash.  In addition, marijuana edibles including chocolate bars, gummy bears and suckers were included in a police news release on Wednesday morning. 

But, marijuana isn’t legal, and Winnipeg police have made that fact loud and clear after raiding the two dispensaries.

Winnipeg Compassion Club Raids

Three men, aged 27, 28, and 45, have been charged with numerous drug offences as well possession of proceeds of crime. They are currently released with court-ordered appearances set.

The club’s Facebook page says it is “no longer open.” Neil Kaplan, a lawyer for the club, has told CBC News he plans to vigorously challenge the allegations. Furthermore, his client would comment in the near future on the matter.

Police stated that the raids came after a month-long investigation. It yielded a number of items that could put young children at “significant medical risk,” police said.

“They’re things that would be very enticing to a child. Potentially medically disastrous for a child. So, really it’s about public safety,” said Winnipeg police Const. Rob Carver.

‘It lacks common sense’

Winnipeg Compassion Club
Cannabis advocate Steven Stairs said he wasn’t surprised by the raids but hoped there would have been a moratorium on cannabis-related arrests with legalization coming to Canada this year. via CBC News

Kirk Kirby has used marijuana for about a decade to help deal with the pain caused by Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease. CMT is a form of muscular dystrophy. He said the club’s shutdown will be a problem for many people like him.

“I’m feeling a little bit aggravated and a little bit sick. You’re left wondering where you’re going to source medicine from.”

He said he has a licence to grow marijuana but had issues growing it himself. For that reason, he turned to the Compassion Club for help.

“It lacks common sense when legalization is around the corner.”

Winnipeg cannabis advocate Steven Stairs said he isn’t surprised by the raids. However, he hoped there would have been a moratorium on cannabis-related arrests. Especially with legalization coming to Canada this year.

“Some people really don’t deserve to be arrested. Some don’t deserve to have criminal records and be excluded from the cannabis industry. However, some people we need to have weeded out.”

Police stated that cannabis taken in criminal investigations is never medical grade and often has contaminants and that pose significant health risks.

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