Health Canada Takes Action Against Compassion Clubs


Ryan Allway

September 22nd, 2015

Policy


Health Canada sent cease-and-desist letters to a number of illegal marijuana dispensaries and compassion clubs last week, saying that police would raid them if they don’t shut down immediately. In the letter, officials demanded that dispensaries stop all activity and submit a written statement confirming the shutdowns by September 21st.

This week, it appears that many dispensaries and compassion clubs have ignored the warning, forcing Health Canada to take action. Alberta’s oldest cannabis compassion club, the Mobile Access Compassion Resources Organization Society, was raided by the Alberta Law Enforcement Response Team. The owners will appear in court over the coming months and have an opportunity to contest the charges against them.

Cannabis advocates argue that the compassion club had been serving the community for more than 10 years and provided a much-needed service. Without law enforcement intervention over that time, the group thought that the government recognized their importance to the community of over 1,000 members. The group plans to lobby for a provincially regulated dispensary model moving forward, while fighting to keep its doors open.

Health Canada’s Marijuana for Medical Purposes Regulations (“MMPR”) were designed to replace home growing, compassionate care clubs, and non-profit dispensaries with a limited number of corporate growers that would mail medicine to customers. The move is intended to improve the safety and reliability of cannabis, while enabling the government to crack down on illicit sales from black market participants to recreational users.

Illegal dispensaries could face fines of up to $5 million or two years in prison, or both until Bill C-17 that passed into law last November.

Ryan Allway

About Ryan Allway

Mr. Allway is an experienced financial writer with years of experience in the capital markets.


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