Law should be enforced at marijuana dispensaries, says Ottawa mayor

Jim Watson says until the federal government moves on legalizing marijuana, current laws still stand and should be enforced at the growing number of marijuana dispensaries in the city.
Cannabis cookies on display at Green Tree Medical Dispensary. (Waubgeshig Rice/CBC)

Ottawa's mayor says until the federal government comes out with new legislation to legalize marijuana, Ottawa police should be cracking down on illegal dispensaries.

At Wednesday's city council meeting, Coun. Mathieu Fleury asked staff to look into what the city's by-law and planning departments are doing to shut down illegal marijuana dispensaries, and to consider what other cities are doing about it.

Residents are concerned about the growing number of shops in Ottawa, Fleury said.

Mayor Jim Watson is interested in Fleury's inquiry, because he said, "It is very much a grey area.

"Although my view is if people are conducting illegal business, if there's evidence that someone is selling drugs, marijuana illegally, then obviously you have to ask the police why they're not enforcing the laws." 

Watson points to Toronto where police, he said, have been cracking down on dispensaries with much success.

"When you're charged and you're fined and your product is taken away, that sends a pretty good signal that you're probably not going to stay in business very long. And if you continue to go and do it, you're going to be fined again," he said.