Article by Solomon Israel, Winnipeg Free Press
Winnipeg police raided two locations of the Winnipeg Compassion Club last week, saying the storefronts were operating as “illegal marihuana dispensaries.”
Police seized approximately $25,000 worth of marijuana, $20,000 of marijuana in alternate forms and $6,000 in cash from both locations, which were “openly selling marihuana,” police in a news release Wednesday.
Three men were arrested and charged with several drug possession and trafficking offences, as well as possession of the proceeds of crime. The men, aged 45, 28, and 27, have been released pending court appearances.
One of the Winnipeg Compassion Club is located at the corner of McPhillips Street and Jefferson Avenue, while the other, called Winnipeg Compassion Club South, is in the 2900 block of Pembina Highway, according to police.
Attorney Neil Kaplan, who represents the owner of the Winnipeg Compassion Club’s McPhillips location, said his client intends to challenge the allegations made against him.
Winnipeg Police Service spokesman Const. Rob Carver described illegal marijuana sales as a public safety issue. Cannabis recently seized by Winnipeg police, he said, has been contaminated with bacteria and heavy metals, although the cannabis seized from the Winnipeg Compassion Club locations has not yet been tested for contaminants.
Carver said police are also concerned edible cannabis products such as the ones seized from the Winnipeg Compassion Club locations could make their way into the hands of children. The products were candy-like in appearance.
“These are not safe things, and they’re not safe things that are being distributed in a way that would be specifically appealing to young kids,” said Carver. “This is dangerous. I’m a parent, I don’t know anyone who thinks that this could be a good idea.”
“These are not comments on the forthcoming sale of marijuana (legally),” added Carver. “It’s simply an issue of black market product being sold illegally that could present a danger.”