Vernon marijuana dispensaries suspend retail sales in response to RCMP warning

FILE PHOTO - The spokesperson for a coalition of Vernon marijuana dispensaries, Imre Kovacsis, is pictured in this file photo at The Herbal Health Centre which he co-owns. The coalition announced today, Monday, Dec. 7, 2015 it would suspend retail sales following a warning from the RCMP.
Image Credit: Charlotte Helston

VERNON - A coalition of Vernon marijuana dispensaries is calling for a moratorium on RCMP raids.

The dispensaries are asking the RCMP to cease intervention until the new Liberal government formalizes its plans for legalization of the product, according to a statement from Imre Kovacs, a spokesperson for the coalition.

Vernon’s five marijuana dispensaries were recently warned by the RCMP to shut down, and to demonstrate what that would mean for patients, the coalition is closing down retail operations as of Monday, Dec. 7.

“Vernon dispensaries will have no product on site and will not be conducting retail sales. The activities we were warned about will stop. We will implement an open-house policy and staff will be on hand to answer questions and concerns from patients about accessing their medicine. The public will be able to enter the facilities and talk with staff,” Kovacs says.

Between them, the coalition of dispensaries serves a membership of over 10,000 patients. Kovacs says recent RCMP action at various dispensaries around B.C. make it clear there is much confusion surrounding the anticipated legalization of cannabis.

“The current actions of the RCMP are not helping the situation and are putting medical patient cannabis users in a state of tension and threatening the survival of dispensaries,” Kovacs says. “We realize evolving transparent laws and regulations will take time and we support the notion that this must happen to arrive at sensible and workable laws that will regulate cannabis for medical and social purposes.”

Kovacs insists the sensible approach right now would be to place a moratorium on any further RCMP action.

“We wonder why the RCMP is taking the action it is. Surely it is more sensible to simply go to a stand still position for all concerned until the government makes its decision,” Kovacs says.

Kovacs is a co-owner of the The Herbal Health Centre in Vernon.

To contact a reporter for this story, email Charlotte Helston at chelston@infonews.ca or call 250-309-5230. To contact the editor, email mjones@infonews.ca or call 250-718-2724.


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