Dispensing With Marijuana Prohibition

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Auntie’s Health and Wellness Centre owner Shirley Martineau says she’s still worried about her former patients

Even though it may seem like the illegality associated with weed today is akin to the criminal severity of something like jaywalking, the fact is that here in Nova Scotia, under many circumstances, having, selling or smoking the stuff could still get you thrown in jail.

That’s exactly what may happen to Shirley Martineau, owner of Auntie’s Health and Wellness Centre, which was closed down earlier this month after Martineau decided on her own accord to begin providing access to medicinal marijuana to anyone over the age of 19—regardless of a prescription.

Auntie’s was one of dozens of dispensaries that have been opening across the country—early prospectors hoping to stake out a claim in anticipation of the federal government’s expected legislation to legalize marijuana. It’s a grey zone of legality for medicinal marijuana advocates, but pretty black-and-white to the authorities.

“I never thought in my mind that I was dealing, believe it or not,” says Martineau. “It was so in my heart and in my gut that I couldn’t believe that it was something that was wrong.”

Following the lock-out of the Barrington Street dispensary, Martineau is wondering how she will be able to continue to help her patients.

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