Winnipeg police arrest owner and patient at medical marijuana dispensary
Winnipeg police warned owner to stop selling marijuana citing Health Canada pressure
Glenn Price, the owner of a medical marijuana dispensary on Main Street, has been arrested, along with his wife and a patient who was using the dispensary.
The trio were arrested Tuesday morning, according to a staff member at Your Medical Cannabis Headquarters.
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"[We were] sweeping, turning lights on, and all of a sudden we were bombarded with SWAT and cops," said Chantelle Barkley, an employee at the shop. "I got asked if I worked there, then I got told to sit down."
He said as Price was ushered to the back room and arrested he asked Bell to get in touch with the media.
Officers told Bell if he returned he could get in trouble, but they didn't say for what.
At the time Price was arrested, three patients and two staff members, including Bell, were in the shop.
According to Barkley, Price's wife and a customer were also arrested in Monday's raid.
Price's daughter, Sandra Price, watched it all from the front of the store.
"It was hard to see, honestly. That's my parents. My dad's doing something good for Winnipeg. He's providing a safe place for people to come," she said.
She said her family has been speaking with a lawyer.
Police warned owner in mid-July
In mid-July, shortly after opening the dispensary, Price was warned by Winnipeg police to stop selling cannabis.
Officers cited pressure from Health Canada to crack down on marijuana dispensaries – which are illegal in Canada.
"It's not going to stop me. They can arrest me, I'll get out, we'll set down some ground rules on what I'm going to do next, and I'll be back," he told CBC News at the time.
On Tuesday, officers confirmed they were investigating at the location "as part of an ongoing investigation into complaints regarding the illegal sale of marijuana at a business in the area."
Medical marijuana dispensaries are becoming a big issue for some Canadian municipalities and are putting local governments at odds with federal legislation.
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Currently there are more than 100 dispensaries in Vancouver, where their city council voted just two weeks ago to regulate the businesses.
Canada's Health Minister Rona Ambrose wasn't impressed with the move.
"Storefronts selling marijuana are illegal and under this Conservative government will remain illegal. We expect the police to enforce the law," Ambrose said at the time.
Bill VanderGraaf disagrees. He's angry the shop was raided on Monday.
"It's none of the police's business what people are smoking," he said.
A business called FirstOnSite Restoration was on scene shortly after the bust taking down the signs on the business. According to one of their staff members, the company has a contract with Winnipeg police, and they were asked to take the sign down.
Health Canada cracks down on 'illegal advertising'
Three days ago, Health Canada announced it would crack down on "illegal advertising of marijuana by non-regulated parties."
As part of their release, officials with Health Canada included a clarification on the legality of marijuana versus its status as an approved drug or medicine.
"Marijuana is not an approved drug or medicine in Canada. The Government of Canada does not endorse the use of marijuana, but the courts have required reasonable access to a legal source of marijuana when authorized by a healthcare practitioner," the release read.
According to Bell, Price was expected to "get busted" any day because "all [of the] shops in Vancouver went through that too."
Bell, the dispensary's caretaker, has a traumatic brain injury and a prescription for marijuana.
"I think it's BS, to put it politely because we need the medical marijuana for pain and everything else," said Bell.