Enforcement coming to illegal marijuana dispensaries in Saskatoon, says new police chief

Marijuana dispensaries in Saskatoon could soon have law enforcement at their doorsteps. Saskatoon Police Service’s new chief elect, Troy Cooper, said Wednesday the dispensaries operating now are outside the law.

Troy Cooper says it's not fair some marijuana dispensaries are operating ahead of legalization

Saskatoon's newly appointed police chief, Troy Cooper, said illegal marijuana dispensaries can expect enforcement when he takes office at the end of February. (CBC)

Marijuana dispensaries in Saskatoon could soon have law enforcement at their doorsteps.

The Saskatoon Police Service's new chief elect, Troy Cooper, said Wednesday the dispensaries operating now are outside the law.  

"Once I get here — I think five weeks from now — if things are still in the same situation that we are in now, then yes, absolutely, we will be addressing that through enforcement," he said.

Cooper will take the helm of the police service at the end of February.

It's not fair to people who have been waiting patiently to have a legal, authorized business, to allow other people to run out ahead and to operate outside the law, outside regulations that are intended to keep people safe.- Troy Cooper

He said the need for enforcement is related to safety and regulations. Because the businesses and sales are unregulated, police can't be sure they're operating in a safe manner, he said.

Dispensaries already selling pot are getting a business advantage ahead of the Canada-wide legalization of recreational cannabis on July 1, according to Cooper.

"It's not fair to people who have been waiting patiently to have a legal, authorized business, to allow other people to run out ahead and to operate outside the law, outside regulations that are intended to keep people safe," Cooper said.

Dispensaries to make 'headlines' in Regina

Cooper's comments come the day after Regina's police chief said that service might still lay charges against marijuana dispensary owners before the drug becomes legal, adding that the public can expect "headlines" in the coming weeks.

Chief Evan Bray told reporters in Regina that the police service would be educating the dispensaries, and the public, to make it clear that selling marijuana is still not legal.

Past crackdowns

It wouldn't be the first time illegal dispensaries are targeted in Saskatoon.

The Saskatchewan Compassion Club was raided by Saskatoon police officers in October 2015.

Four people at the dispensary were arrested and charged that day.

Most of the charges were dropped in 2017, although the business pleaded guilty to one count of trafficking and was fined $6,500.

with files by Jennifer Quesnel