The owner of a marijuana dispensary in downtown Maple Ridge is wondering why it was raided by police, who confiscated more than $10,000 worth of marijuana, a week before the Senate passed a bill to legalize recreational use in Canada.
Tony Le owns Green Era Medicinal at 11781 Fraser Street and said on June 14 four RCMP officers entered his establishment with a bylaws officer.
He said they did not show a search warrant. The officers did not enter the back of the dispensary, which has controlled public access, but stayed in a reception area.
According to his staff, police ordered them to pass the pot through a receptionist window. Staff handed over 30 jars.
Police did not confiscate any of the cookies or other edibles, he said, nor did they ask for vape oil.
Le estimates he lost 50 to 60 ounces. He was surprised at the enforcement, given how close full legalization of marijuana is in Canada.
Bill C-45, the federal bill to legalize recreational use of marijuana, passed by a vote of 52-29 this week. The bill now moves to royal assent, which is expected to occur in the coming days.
The legal commercial sale of recreational marijuana could start as early as September.
Le said his staff was told that what they are doing is illegal, and the store is operating without a business licence.
He has been operating for more than two years in Maple Ridge, and said he has received multiple $200 fines for not having a business licence. Le said he has told city hall he is willing to get a business licence, but that the city said it is waiting for direction from senior governments as legalization unfolds.
In the big picture, Le said, it is obvious he will soon be able to operate legally, and he questions the need for enforcement.
“It’s pretty clear what’s happening here, with things going recreational and medicinal,” he added.
Le said he has generally had a good relationship with the RCMP, helping assist them in an investigation of a purse snatching with his video footage, and police recovered a laptop that was stolen from his business.
His store has about 7,000 members, and he said many are worried about where they will get their product if he is shut down.
Green Era operates as a medicinal marijuana dispensary, Le said, with his clients providing identification and signing in whenever they come to make purchases. He said all of his marijuana is provided by facilities that have been licensed by Health Canada.
It is one of three dispensaries in Maple Ridge, along with Taggs and Deacon Blues.
Ridge Meadows RCMP would not confirm that they seized marijuana from the dispensary.
“There is no legal mechanism in Canada which allows for medical marijuana dispensaries or compassion clubs to sell marijuana to the public, regardless of whether or not the purchasing individuals have licenses to possess marijuana or whether or not the vendor has a license to produce marijuana,” said RCMP Sgt. Brenda Gresiuk.