Debate Over Marijuana Dispensaries Heats up in Saint John

Article by CTV Atlantic

12 people charged after police raid 6 medical marijuana dispensaries in Saint John

Saint John police have sparked a debate over what seems to be a growing industry in the Maritimes. This week, police raided and shut down several marijuana dispensaries that they say were operating illegally, but some argue it’s a necessary service.

Brock Merchant is the son of the owner of HBB Medical Inc, one of six marijuana dispensaries raided. Merchant says they had hundreds of regular customers, who have now lost a fast and reliable source of marijuana products.

“Right now unfortunately, even if they want to go through licensed producers, you’re three to five days away. So that being said, you turn to the black market, you’re back down with buddy down the street, and God knows what you’re buying,” says Merchant.

On Tuesday, police moved in on every dispensary in Saint John, shutting them down and charging 12 people with trafficking.

Dispensaries have been raided in other communities across the country. Marijuana advocates say it often turns out to be a wasted effort.

In a statement to CTV Atlantic, Chris Rideout of Maritimers Unite for Medical Marijuana said:

“Many dispensaries from coast-to-coast that have been subjected to police action and subsequent charges being laid have, after a court appearance or two, had their charges stayed or dismissed.”

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