SASKATOON – Members of a city committee have told medical marijuana patients and advocates the “law is the law” and unlicensed pot shops are against the law. A report from city administration on the possible regulation for dispensaries was presented to Saskatoon’s Standing Policy Committee on Planning, Development and Community Services Monday.
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“The regulations in place with respect to the possession, consumption, production and distribution of medical marijuana fall solely within the federal jurisdiction,” said the report from city administration.
The only legal means to purchase medical marijuana in Saskatoon is through Health Canada’s mail-order program.
Until a police raid on the Saskatchewan Compassion Club in late October, patients could visit the store front dispensary on 2nd Avenue in Saskatoon. The shop operated without a license from the federal government, providing weed for people with prescriptions.
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Many of the medical marijuana users who gathered at Saskatoon’s city hall wanted committee members to consider allowing dispensaries to operate in the “grey” area of the law, similar to those in Vancouver.
The grey area would mean having the City of Saskatoon issue licenses.
“Yes it seems like a bold and maybe even unachievable suggestion, but yes that’s exactly what’s on the table,” said Saskatchewan Compassion Club founder Mark Hauk.
Last week, the City of Vancouver announced 14 medical pot shops were expected to receive licenses to operate dispensaries.
At least 162 applications were rejected for not meeting zoning requirements, including proximity to schools, community centres and other marijuana businesses.
However, Saskatoon councillors have no plans for a similar system.
“You feel for the people who are involved, but at the same time, the law is the law and we were advised by our city solicitors that this is a federal jurisdiction,” said Coun. Troy Davies.