Article by Greg Mercer, Waterloo Region Record
A local medical cannabis advocate says he hopes Waterloo Region’s marijuana dispensaries closed in a recent crackdown by police can reopen under impending legalization planned by Ottawa.
Peter Thurley is a former federal NDP candidate and one of 700 medical marijuana users shut out of the Organix Compassion club when it closed its doors this month after pressure from police.
That’s why the news the Liberal government is planning legislation that will legalize recreational marijuana use by Canada Day 2018 presents an odd contradiction for people like him.
Medical cannabis users are happy the government has reconfirmed it wants to change the laws, but angry that a recent police crackdown on dispensaries has left some of those users turning to the black market in the meantime, he said.
The prime minister has stressed marijuana remains illegal until legislation passes, and police across the country have been busy conducting a series of raids on illegal storefront dispensaries.
Waterloo Regional Police shut down five marijuana dispensaries in Waterloo Region in the last month alone — including Organix, the city’s oldest compassion club for licensed medicinal cannabis users.
“These law enforcement crackdowns have been coming directly at the public command of the prime minister,” said Thurley, who has a prescription for cannabis to treat chronic nerve pain from major stomach surgery.
“So now it’s kind of watch and wait. And that’s the unfortunate effect of these crackdowns. Any time you put the fear of God into these people, they have to be able to look out for their patients … It’s a pretty crappy situation for these folks to be in.”