Hamilton police raid local weed dispensary
Bust marks 2nd raid of the summer
Hamilton police have now raided two weed dispensaries in the city this summer, and announced in a press release Friday that investigators plan to keep cracking down — even as the federal government plans to legalize marijuana next spring.
"The Federal Government has committed to making changes to the laws and regulations in relation to marihuana," a police news release reads. "However, until such changes are proclaimed law, the present provisions of the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act in relation to the possession and sale of marihuana remain in force.
"The Hamilton Police Service is dedicated to investigating all allegations of criminal activity, including the selling or trafficking of marihuana from dispensaries.
"Illegal activity will not be tolerated."
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The latest bust came on July 21, police announced Friday, at Bright Moments Dispensary at 238 King Street East. Police say they seized around $100,000 worth of pot and other products, including cannabis resin, THC-infused soda, energy drinks, edibles and more.
A 41-year-old Hamilton man who police say they "believe was the operator of the business" was charged with several marijuana possession-related charges.
This bust comes after another raid back in June, where police say they seized about $75,000 worth pot and assorted products. A 27-year-old man was charged in connection with that bust.
Local police maintain that "storefront marihuana dispensaries are illegal" — yet even Canada's Health Minister has said it's "impossible to arrest our way out of this problem."
But the federal government's promise to begin the process of legalizing cannabis in 2017 has amplified calls from lawyers and advocates for an end to arrests and prosecutions for some weed-related crimes that have "clogged up the system" and left tens of thousands of Canadians with a criminal record.
"Legally, of course, the law is still on the books, so people can be prosecuted and convicted," said Alan Young, lawyer and associate professor at Osgoode Hall, in a previous interview with the CBC.
"But from a moral point of view, if the change is imminent, that undercuts the whole foundation for arrests and prosecutions, and one would hope the government would stop pursuing very minor cases that have clogged up the system for years."
Hamilton police don't appear to be operating from a moral point of view. "We enforce the laws that exist today," Police Chief Eric Girt told CBC News back in June. "We can't apply laws that we think might happen, because that would leave you out on a limb.
"You've got to apply the laws that are in effect now — and we do that."
With files from Lucas Powers