Some Saskatchewan medical marijuana users are getting worried about how they’re going to get their medicine in the coming months once the herb is legalized.
A group of medicinal weed advocates in front of Saskatoon City Hall Saturday was, in part, protesting over how the 51 new recreational cannabis stores across the province won’t be selling some unregulated pot products, such as oils and creams.
Sterling Wilde has been using those products for the past 17 years to treat his attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and oppositional defiant disorder, among other health conditions.
He said closing medical marijuana dispensaries to make room for the recreational market is detrimental.
“I deal with many other patients as well that (say) cannabis products have saved and changed their lives. It’s absolutely necessary that these stores stay open,” Wilde said.
“We need our dispensaries to stay open because we are medical users — we are not recreational users.”
Wilde added it’s vital medical marijuana users have access to these unregulated products in-person because the online system makes access to them difficult and, in some cases, impossible.
“(Unregulated cannabis products) help people, they save lives and they keep people from using the black market, which can be dangerous from cross contamination from other drugs.” Wilde explained.
Meanwhile, as various levels of government continue preparing for the legalization of recreational pot, creating an enforcement regime for the new rules are top of mind.
Fines and court injunctions are among the options available for officials looking to shut down so-called grey-market marijuana businesses.
But Ian Dawkins with the Cannabis Commerce Association of Canada said what regulators should be concerned with is offering consumers the products and services they’ve come to expect.
“If you’re a law abiding citizen and you go to (a provincially-run) cannabis store and there’s nothing on the shelves, you almost feel entitled to call up your guy — that’s the end of enforcement at that point,” he said.
Dawkins added he doesn’t believe fines and court injunctions will successfully shut down pot shops and other businesses.
Over the last few months, city police have raided medical marijuana dispensaries in both Regina and Saskatoon, urging them to close shop. However, many of them still continue to do business with their customers in some capacity.
— With files from the Canadian Press