On Tuesday, December 1, 2015, RCMP made good on a threat to bust several pot dispensaries in the Nanaimo area of Vancouver Island.

At least 10 shops had received warnings in mid-November from the Mounties to cease all operations, or risk being raided, resulting in fines and/or arrests being made. It has been reported that 2 of those shops closed their businesses voluntarily upon request.

The RCMP declined to provide names of which dispensaries were entered into, but general managers of three shops located in Nanaimo confirmed to the media that they were the subject of search warrants.

Trees Dispensary, Phoenix Pain Management, and Natures Source Society all had search warrants executed at their establishments on December 1st. Phoenix Pain Management confirmed that two of their members, both senior citizens, were arrested on site.

The RCMP issued a statement advising that their motivation in raiding the dispensaries came as a result of public complaints that the shops were operating illegally and in an unsavoury manner. It is unknown if the RCMP will be seeking search warrants in order to enter and shut down the remaining businesses that are allegedly running illegally.

The choice to seek judicial authorization to raid the shops comes as a surprise to some, after Vancouver’s decision earlier this year to zone and licence dispensaries that are operating in compliance with certain guidelines.  The City’s decision requires that all marijuana shops apply for a business licence as the first step in becoming regulated.

In October, the City announced that out of 177 applications, 11 had passed the first stage, and would be able to apply for permits. The hundreds of applications that did not pass the first stage were in contravention of various regulations, including their proximity to schools, community centres, and each other.

If you have had any criminal charges for controlled substances and/or drugs, do not hesitate to call our law office. We assist people in Metro Vancouver and all corners of British Columbia.