Health Canada warns RCMP may act if pot dispensaries remain open
Health Canada has sent out cease-and-desist letters to 13 illegal marijuana dispensaries and compassion clubs across the country, warning the RCMP could raid them if they do not shut down immediately, even those in cities where local police have mostly tolerated them.
The department sent the letters on Wednesday demanding the dispensaries stop “all activities with controlled substances” immediately and submit a written statement confirming this action by Sept. 21. The threat is the first indication the federal government is prepared to intervene directly to shut down Canada’s storefront dispensaries, most of which operate in Vancouver and Victoria.
In those two cities, local governments have allowed them to proliferate and either passed bylaws to regulate them or plan to do so. The municipal police forces have largely stood by while pot shops flourished.
A Health Canada spokesman confirmed late on Thursday that the letters are part of a campaign to monitor and prevent such stores from selling or advertising pot. It is overseen by a special department task force that was created at the beginning of August after Health Minister Rona Ambrose pledged a crackdown on dispensaries.