On July 1, Glenn Price opened his controversial medical dispensary, Your Medical Cannabis Headquarters in Winnipeg, Manitoba but after only two weeks of operation, the police ordered Price to close his operation down. The owner and proprietor of the shop says he only sells medical cannabis to licensed users and chose to re-open his shop in defiance of police orders.
Although police say that Price isn’t a licensed producer and is selling medical cannabis illegally, Prices believes he has the right to sell medical marijuana to licensed users because it’s a medicine. He estimates he has provided cannabis for hundreds of users since opening his doors and insists that what he’s doing is legitimate, as he’s providing users a place to take their medicine “instead of on the street.”
Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau backs the controversial dispensary, saying that it should be allowed to operate. Trudeau has said in the past that he backs the decriminalization of cannabis and upheld his position on the subject.
A peaceful protest was held July 20 to bring attention to the plight of Price and medical cannabis users in general. In Price’s words, the protest was “a peaceful smoke-in” and the police kept their distance. Demonstrators held signs saying “I am not a criminal” and to judge by the honking horns of passing cars, the public supported their plight.
The marijuana industry is flourishing despite government objections. Health Canada, headed up by Health Minister Rona Ambrose, was “outraged” when the Supreme Court ruled that licensed cannabis users will be allowed enjoy cannabis in all forms. Ambrose’s efforts to stop licensed users from growing their own medicine in their homes have been thwarted by a Supreme Court challenge that may be cited as a violation of civil rights.
In a time when commercial cannabis company stocks are being traded on the Toronto Stock Exchange, wielding a zero-tolerance stance against marijuana legalization seems behind the times. The use of cannabis both medically and recreationally is gaining widespread acceptance.
“While Canadian courts have required the government to allow access to marijuana when authorized by a physician, the law is clear that this must be done in a controlled fashion to protect public health and safety,” said a spokeswoman for Ms. Ambrose. “Storefronts selling marijuana are illegal and will remain illegal under this conservative government.”
According to the increasing number of storefronts such as Glenn Price’s, the conservatives have it all wrong. With the British Columbia government regulating storefronts like Price’s, it is safe to say that medical cannabis is here to stay and a widespread acceptance of it is the result.
“There are clear links between government policies and the rise of the unlicensed medical-marijuana industry,” said Jamie Shaw, the president of the Canadian Association of Medical Cannabis Dispensaries. “They created this whole home-grow model, then they tried to outlaw the home-grow model and created a new corporate model, but all of those models are running at the exact same time now.”
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