The owner of a marijuana dispensary is very frustrated after receiving a warning letter from Regina police.
Pat Warnecke, owner of Best Buds Society (BBS), received the letter on Tuesday. The letter points out the various criminal codes that fall under the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act. The Regina police chief has publicly warned it is still against the law to sell marijuana in a storefront; to follow the law people with a medical prescription have to buy online.
The letter warned that officers have reason to believe BBS is in violation of the current laws and to “kindly govern yourself accordingly.”
Warnecke said the doors of BBS will stay open as long as they can as their main focus is to help medical marijuana patients receive the proper products.
“It causes a lot of stress on patients,” he said. “Our main focus here is to help patients out. We have thousands of patients without safe access to proper products and in the end, I’m afraid these people are going to be going back out to the streets whether it be for opioid use or just to get their products because they no longer have a place to get it.”
He went on to say the current mail order system for medical marijuana patients doesn’t give all patients access as he said licensed producers require credit card information along with a fixed address.
“That’s discriminatory to a lot of people that can’t (provide) that,” Warnecke said, noting credit cards and shipping also have fees that some people just can’t afford.
BBS also provides different forms of marijuana which Warnecke said a person couldn’t get from a licensed producer. He added he’s heard concerns from a lot of worried parents who use suppositories for their kids diagnosed with epilepsy.
“We have mothers in here that have their children that are on oils that we provide to them so their children stop having seizures and they’re very worried right now,” he said. “We’re getting a lot of patients’ feedback and a lot of support from the patients telling us that they’ve got our back by phoning the police, their MLA’s and phoning their politicians as much as they can and try to portray to them that this will cause them undue stress.”
Warnecke believes by shutting down all dispensaries police will cause a “public health crisis.” He hopes Police Chief Evan Bray and Mayor Michael Fougere will soon come up with a solution for the months leading up to pot becoming legalized.
No luck with leaders
As the country inches closer to promised legalization this summer, Warnecke said staff at BBS have sent numerous information packages and letters of concern to different city councils along with various police agencies. To this day, he has only received one reply from city council in Prince Albert.
“It’s concerning as we’ve heard so much in the media that (police) are in constant contact and deliberations or whatever their wording was about it and we had yet to see them until they dropped off this piece of paper.”
Warnecke said they’ve also hosted numerous public forums on marijuana across Saskatchewan on BBS dime, yet the police refuse to hear them out.
Owner calls for compromise with police and council
Warnecke hopes a conversation will open up soon with police, city councils and dispensaries. His hope is for city officials and police to meet in the middle when it comes to months leading up to the legalization of pot.
“There’s a lot of other options that they could do, including temporary licenses or permits,” he said. “This would allow people to continue to help people as the law is changing and it’s changing because it’s viewed as being a violation of our charter rights and being viewed as unjust.”
He said they have no problem shutting down and closing doors as soon as medical marijuana patients have an outlet to get their proper form of products.