A marijuana dispensary is back open, after a gunpoint robbery sparked a Hamilton police investigation, that’s despite the fact that the business is operating illegally. Which is a question that many people have, why is there so many pot shops operating in the city when it’s illegal?
In order to raid pot shops, Police Chief Eric Girt says it takes time. “Part of the issue is we require judicial authorization to go and seize the drugs. You can’t just walk in the door and seize them.”
The Hamilton Police Vice and Drugs unit say they’re aware of at least 26 illegal dispensaries in the city and they’ve executed 14 search warrants since June of 2016. But even when they do, the owners reopen their shops again. Hamilton police had their last drug bust on Thursday on King Street East. They raided the SOS Cannabis Culture and found $50 000 worth of cannabis inside. Four days later, the open sign is lit up and the door is open.
“That’s not a shock because I know how it works and depending on who got arrested and released then others can step in and take it over and as I say, from their point of view, they are viewing this as a business.” Police Chief, Eric Girt.
Marijuana possession is expected to be legal in Canada by July but police say until then, they’re sticking to the existing laws.
“If you are in possession of marijuana it’s still illegal, it has not been legalized and we have people getting charged with offences under the controlled drug and substance act for possession.”
It’s unclear how many of the pot shop owners facing charges have actually been convicted. Police Chief Eric Girt says it is up to the crown attorneys to decide whether they move ahead with the charges and Girt urges them to do just that as it sets a precedent for all of the other shop owners.