Ottawa police and municipal authorities are getting creative in dealing with our budding but illegal marijuana dispensaries.
But you do wonder if the use of imaginative enforcement techniques is born of a lack of courage.
The police have refused to raid the retail outlets, which now number 17, but have spent a substantial amount of time “monitoring” their activities. (During a record year for shootings, by the way.)
As we’ve learned in the terrific reporting of Citizen writer Jacquie Miller, the Ottawa police sent letters to 13 dispensary landlords warning them of possible police action or even property forfeiture if they allow illegal sales to continue.
Outrageous, really, and the police should be embarrassed.
Since when is it the responsibility of a private landlord to enforce the Criminal Code? This is especially true when the alleged illegal activity exists in a kind of “grey zone” — or fog, maybe — pending legislative change from Parliament, which could be months and months away. Is the landlord supposed to go undercover and undertake his own quasi-criminal investigation?
If a storefront were operating a brothel or an after-hours bar or gambling joint, would the police respond to a complaint by saying: “Sorry to hear. Take it up with the landlord.”? The heck they would.