Manitoba

Winnipeg's pot dispensary supporters smoke up at police HQ

About a dozen medical marijuana advocates smoked up in front of Winnipeg's police headquarters on Monday, but their protest was interrupted when a truck smashed into five police cars nearby.

Smoke-in was protest against attempt by police to close the city's only medical marijuana dispensary

A police officer walks past a group participating in a pot smoke-in at the police headquarters on Monday. (CBC)

About a dozen medical marijuana advocates smoked up in front of Winnipeg's police headquarters on Monday.

About a dozen people showed up for a smoke-in at the Public Safety Building on Monday. (CBC)
Local advocate Steven Stairs organized the smoke-in, which began at the Public Safety Building at 11 a.m., as a protest against the attempt by police to close the city's only medical marijuana dispensary.

However, their protest was interrupted when a truck smashed into five police cars nearby. That incident is not believed to be linked to the protest, according to police.

Last week, Glenn Price, the owner of Your Medical Cannabis Headquarters, said police showed up at his Main Street shop and asked him to stop selling cannabis, citing pressure from Health Canada to crack down on marijuana dispensaries.

Stairs was hoping the smoke-in would encourage "a discussion with city leaders as well as the chief of police to bring us all to the table and have an open discussion regarding community needs as well as patient needs."

He said the 225 people who depend on the dispensary shouldn't be harassed by police.

Price has refused to shut his doors, despite concerns that police may arrest him.

"If they do, well, I'll be a martyr for this — to bring education and awareness that there should be alternative medicine," he recently told CBC News.

The Winnipeg Police Service has not commented specifically on Price's case, but says it will investigate unauthorized dispensaries that are not authorized under Health Canada regulations.

Dispensaries are "highly regulated" and the marijuana is "regularly tested for quality and for the public's safety," the police service said in a news release Monday morning.

As well, it said "only regulated and tested cannabis" that's produced by a licensed and authorized commercial facility can be dispensed to patients who have a valid prescription.

Police note that authorized dispensaries are delivery services only and marijuana is "never dispensed through a store or personally."


Facebook post about smoke-in

Stairs posted the following message on his Facebook page:

"Don't forget to come out and support Winnipegs' only dispensary! 11am in front of the Public Safety Building on Princess Ave. We are asking all patients and supporters to come out and show the Winnipeg Police Service that we will not stand for heavy handed police intimidation tactics!

"24 hours after the "smoke in" we will meet at the dispensary on Main st and form a human patients chain in front of the store to show police that if they still continue to bother Glenn and his employees/family/patients .... They will have to break through a peaceful wall of sick people to do so!

"SHAME ON THE POLICE FOR DOING THIS.

"We have started the fight to have dispensaries regulated in Winnipeg, we must be victorious and stand up for a patients access to medicine, no matter what that medicine is!"

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