Dozens rallied in Mission on Saturday, a few weeks after RCMP officers executed search warrants on a store selling marijuana products.
The couple operating The BC Pain Society said they don’t know why they were targeted, but speculate it’s connected to other recent police raids in the province.
“How can we be punished for helping?’ asked Dawn Parker, whose husband operates the store. “We don’t make a lot of money.”
Inside the shop on Lougheed Highway, there’s little left, save the accessories Parker also made and sold there. Robert Woolsey, Parker’s husband, said they could be facing charges.
“I was completely flabbergasted because I hadn’t received a letter of warning. Everybody’s reading in the news about these letters of warning, well, I’m such a bad person I guess I don’t deserve a letter of warning,” said Woolsey.
Those rallying on Saturday said the products they used to purchase at the store are ones they can’t live without.
“It’s changed my life. It’s allowed me to live. It’s allowed me quality of life,” said Sara Laslo, who went on to say marijuana products she was purchasing from Woolsey significantly reduced the severity and frequency of her epileptic seizures.
“I [came] out to the rally today in support of everyone that needs this medicine.”
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However, according to Mission RCMP, what was being produced and sold at the Lougheed Highway store was illegal. In a press release issued November 26, police say their investigation “revealed that marijuana and marijuana derivatives were being illegally produced at the residential property and sold at a commercial premise on Lougheed Highway which was being operated as a marijuana dispensary.”
Police obtained and executed search warrants at both the Lougheed store and the couple’s home, seizing “a significant amount of marijuana and marijuana derivatives, including a quantity of ‘shatter.’”
In recent weeks, a number of B.C. pot dispensaries have been given written warnings to stop selling marijuana products, or police have raided them too, like the S&M Sweet Shop in Sechelt.
Everyone at the weekend rally said they’re waiting on Justin Trudeau and the Liberals to make good on their promise to legalize marijuana.
But that day hasn’t come yet and, said Mission mayor Randy Hawes, it probably will–and should–take some time.
“Those who think that this is something that is gonna fall out of the sky within months, I think they’re dreaming. I really think the government will take its time and find a regulatory regime that makes sense for people,” he said.
Hawes went on to say he supports a proposal presented earlier this week that, if legalized, small quantities of marijuana should be sold through licensed established liquor outlets.
“That makes a lot of sense to me,” said Hawes. “For those who need medical marijuana, through pharmacies who can dispense with a prescription, but the corner store is not the place.”