The former clients of a Langley medical marijuana dispensary raided by RCMP last month are organizing a petition and campaign to have it re-opened.
“People should be able to access medicine that has been prescribed by their doctor,” said Dan Mackle, who was the first client of the dispensary, which ran for about 11 months in Langley City on Fraser Highway.
Randy Caine, the local business owner who opened and operated the dispensary, was licensed by Health Canada to supply marijuana to three clients, but had about 150 active members when it was raided in July.
Police seized pot and baked goods along with some cash.
Now Mackle and others from among the former clients are seeking names on a petition asking Langley City to allow a dispensary to re-open as an official pilot project.
Because the dispensary operated unmolested by police for almost a year, Mackle and others thought it was being allowed to continue.
“I thought we had a good relationship with the police,” he said.
The raid has left him with a prescription for medical marijuana, but no means of getting a supply, aside from seeking out drug dealers.
“That’s not something I support,” he said.
Pain and spasms were making it hard for him to continue working, Mackle said, and conventional painkillers were not working anymore.
He switched to medical marijuana and it has eased his symptoms and allowed him to continue working, he said.
Once he and other members have gathered signatures and public support, they plan to bring their case before City council, probably in September, Mackle said.
Lorraine Hubbs is another resident who misses the dispensary. She bought marijuana there for her husband, who suffers from dementia.
“They help with his agitation,” she said. “I’m in my 60s, and I don’t like the idea of going into back alleys to get what my husband needs,” she said.
She doesn’t have the time or ability to grow her own marijuana under a licence, and she has heard bad things about the version of the drug supplied by Health Canada itself.
After the raid, Caine defended the operation of the dispensary, which did not have a business licence, on the basis of recent court rulings about access to medically prescribed pot.
In an open letter to supporters, he said he will continue to campaign for the re-opening of the dispensary.
“We are also continuing to work on measures to meet the immediate needs of the medical marijuana user,” Caine wrote.
Langley RCMP spokesperson Cpl. Holly Marks said police do plan to recommend charges against Caine, although the Crown counsel has not yet dealt with that issue.
The raid on the Langley dispensary was one of three launched by the RCMP over a few weeks. Dispensaries and compassion clubs in Burnaby and Chilliwack were also raided in late July. Meanwhile, over the summer the federal government announced it would look at reducing the number of people allowed to grow medical marijuana.
Langley’s mayors and RCMP have expressed concern about medical grows, which while legal, can be the target of violence from gangsters looking to steal and resell the crop. Due to privacy laws, the RCMP do not know the location of a legal, medical grow when it is established.
– Article from Langley Advance.