News

Parksville pot shop gets shut down

There was a sign on WeeMedical Wellness Center
There was a sign on WeeMedical Wellness Center's door on Hirst Avenue in Parksville saying that it had be shut down on Wednesday (March 15).
— image credit: Lauren Collins photo

Well, it lasted a month.

The WeeMedical Wellness Centre, a medical marijuana dispensary that opened in downtown Parksville in February was raided by RCMP and closed by the City of Parksville last Wednesday afternoon.

“As we speak, right now a warrant is being served on the medical marijuana shop downtown,” Staff Sgt. Marc Pelletier told councillors while addressing a budget request for additional members for the Oceanside RCMP detachment.

One 25-year-old woman was arrested and released on promise to appear in court on charges of trafficking and possession with intent to traffic, RCMP said.

A quantity of items containing marijuana or THC, the active drug in marijuana plants, was seized along with a small amount of cash.

Council had voted during its most recent regular meeting, March 6, to request that RCMP “close down” the shop, which opened in February.

Oceanside RCMP spokesperson Cpl. Jesse Foreman said the warrant was served in conjuction with City of Parksville bylaw control.

“If any business is operating in town in contravention of bylaw, we’re going to have to take enforcement action,” said Foreman, who noted WeeMedical did not possess a licence to operate in the city.

Asked if WeeMedical would be reopening its doors in Parksville, May Joan Liu, a WeeMedical Dispensary Society director, told The NEWS in an emailed statement that it would need to re-evaluate the situation based on the risk to its budtenders and the need to provide safe access to the local community.

Lui said WeeMedical would like to stay, if possible, with the community’s support.

WeeMedical opened in mid-February on Hirst Avenue in Parksville. While reactions to the pot shop were mixed, the majority of commenters on The NEWS website seemed to be in favour of the operation.

Lui said Parksville WeeMedical had more than 240 members to date at its location after being open for about 30 days. She said there were Parksville residents who were already members of the society in other locations.

WeeMedical has two dispensaries each in Nanaimo and Campbell River and one in Port Alberni, with 10 other locations throughout the province.

“WeeMedical opened in Parksville anticipating a need from its residents but did not expect such violent opposition from the municipality and it’s policing force,” Lui said.

On Wednesday evening (March 15), a pink piece of paper was taped to the front door of WeeMedical stating that the “property has been used in respect of the manufacture, ingestion, use, sharing, sale, trade or barter of a controlled substance.”

The notice also states that no person may occupy or use these premises for any commercial use until cleaning and remediation have been completed and certified in accordance with the bylaw “Controlled Substances Property Remediation Bylaw Number 1411.”

Lui said the note on the door is more in line with addressing a grow operation and not a retail outlet.

“Simply enforcing a law that is unjust for many should not be the standard in which we govern ourselves, knowing full well that the current legal method of obtaining medical marijuana is impossible for many citizens,” Lui said.

— NEWS Staff

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