They made for unlikely perps: Mid-20s clerks, stylishly dressed, you could easily imagine folding sweaters at The Gap, or working a hissy barista bar; a man selling, literally, from a hole in the wall.
So it was that, hours after the balaclava-clad crackdown, there was little sense of triumph when Ottawa police Chief Charles Bordeleau discussed the nine people arrested, led away in handcuffs, in a series of raids Friday on six city marijuana distributors.
What, in the end, was really accomplished? We shall see. But the messaging is probably more important than the raids themselves. Ottawa police finally decided it was time to enforce the law — there’s a novel idea — and wants it known it won’t stop there.
This is an entirely defensible move. When I spoke to several customers who arrived at the empty, locked-down Green Tree Medical Dispensary on Preston Street, they told stories of neither “medicine” or “dispensing.” They were accustomed to just buying weed, from an operator who had set the qualifying “prescription” bar rather low.
It is lamentable the police let this practice go on so long and, absent enforcement, of course more shops (17 and counting) popped up. They made reference Friday to changes in Health Canada regulations related to medical marijuana that came into effect on Aug. 24.