Manitoba

Shop owner disguised 'drug trafficking' business as medical marijuana shop: police

Glenn Price, whose medical marijuana shop was raided by Winnipeg police, has been charged with drug trafficking.

Coun. Ross Eadie wants Winnipeg to follow Vancouver's lead and regulate marijuana dispensaries

Glenn Price, whose medical marijuana shop was raided by Winnipeg police, has been charged with drug trafficking. 2:04

Glenn Price, whose medical marijuana shop was raided by Winnipeg police, has been charged with drug trafficking.

"It was determined that the owner was operating an illegal drug trafficking business which was held out to be a medical marijuana dispensary," police said in a news release.

Several police units searched Price's shop, Your Medical Cannabis Headquarters, as well as a suite in the same Main Street building on Tuesday morning.

The sign is taken down at Your Medical Cannabis Headquarters on Tuesday, following the police raid. (Erin Brohman/CBC)
Police seized a kilogram of marijuana as well as drug paraphernalia from the store, and about two ounces of pot from the suite.

Price, 54, was charged with several drug-related charges before being released from custody.

He told CBC News on Wednesday that he was kept in custody for 12 hours without being offered anything to eat. He also said the police effectively put him out of business by taking everything — even the sign above his front door.

Price said he's going to take some time to figure things out, but he wants other activists and people in Winnipeg to keep pushing for change and to open up marijuana dispensaries.

He didn't want to talk further until he had a chance to speak to his lawyer.

Meanwhile, city Coun. Ross Eadie said he wants Winnipeg to follow Vancouver's lead and consider ways to regulate marijuana dispensaries, allowing them to remain open.

"I still think it's worthwhile to set out some parameters because right now they can open up anywhere and given society's change, it's coming. I'm serious, it's coming and we need to deal with it now," he said.

Currently there are more than 100 dispensaries in Vancouver, where their city council voted just two weeks ago to regulate the businesses.

Winnipeg currently regulates where massage parlours and escort services can operate, Eadie noted, adding he is considering putting forth a motion asking the city to examine the issue around dispensaries when council reconvenes.

"I'm talking about where you can locate it what kind of signage you can use," he said.

"What we're saying is, 'let's get on top of this because more and more will start opening up.' We really need to look at the future and deal with it now."

Brian Mayes, the councillor for the St. Vital Ward, said he had issues in his area two years ago with a head shop called The Joint.

"We sat down with the police and some local school principals, and we worked things out," said Mayes. "I kind of learned from that that there is a way of approaching this where you can deal with the business owners, not deal with the whole legalization debate. I think we can work things out."

Mayes said he doesn't think the businesses should be banned.

"What we need to do is have some regulation as to where they can be in the city," he said. "Should this only be restricted to licensed people or do we allow other dispensaries? The feds are going to have to sort that out, but from the city perspective. let's not just try and eliminate all these places.  Let's work with the industry and see where things can be located."

Death threats for activist

Anti-marijuana activist Pamela McColl, who has filed complaints to police and Mayor Brian Bowman about Price's shop, said she has received death threats.

"The RCMP are now monitoring my email and phone calls," she said.

McColl, who speaks for the group Smart Approaches Marijuana Canada, said she wanted to call attention to the negative side of dispensaries and of pot.

"I find that upsetting. I'm not going to be intimidated," she said. "I wish this country could just calm down and discuss this situation calmly and find a way to move forward."

Canadians and parents do not want to see marijuana promoted to their kids and storefronts are a form of advertising, said McColl, whose group wants to protect the rights of children to live in a drug-free world.

"We don't want to have drugs pushed on anyone and we're very, very cautious of claims made of benefit," she said.

"This is the problem with medical marijuana — the claims some people are making about it with no evidence in science."

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