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‘Lack of public interest’ given as reason for dropping of charges against six MMJ employees

The location where MMJ dispensary has been vacant since a police raid on the morning of March 20, 2018. — The Nelson Daily photo

Charges against six employees of a marijuana dispensary in Nelson following a raid by City Police on the morning of March 20, 2018 have been dropped said Chief Constable Paul Burkart in a media release Friday.

Chief Burkart said NPD received written communication on July 30, 2019, from the Public Prosecutors Service of Canada confirming that the charges against the six employees of MMJ would not be approved. 

Chief Burkart added the document confirmed that the reason for no charge approval was the lack of public interest.

“We were not surprised by the Federal Crown’s position on these charges,” Chief Burkart said in the media release.

“Although the PPSC was pleased with the quality of our investigation, it was also clear that they no longer felt the public interest was there to pursue the charges.”

MMJ marijuana dispensary was located at the corner of Vernon and Hendryx Street in the Nelson Commons building.

The business never re-opened after the police executed warrant.

Chief Burkart said the investigation into the MMJ and their staff included public complaints about the business and drug purchases performed by undercover police officers.

This information led to NPD officers obtaining a search warrant. 

“Our investigation showed that MMJ was operating well outside what we expected from our dispensaries, and well outside what we felt would be acceptable to our courts and the case law that the judges created around the dispensaries,” Chief Burkart explained.

Chief Burkart said NPD is satisfied that MMJ has closed their operations in Nelson, “as we do not believe that their business and their business practice was a good fit for our community.”

“Although we support legalization and were supportive of city council’s decision to allow medical dispensaries, we do expect those involved in commercial marijuana businesses to follow federal, provincial and municipal laws, as well as the case law created by our courts, which will undoubtedly be plentiful going forward as we continue to work through our first year of legalization,” Chief Burkart said.

Marijuana was legalized in Canada under the Cannabis Act on October 17, 2018.

The act states that people who are aged 18 years or older can possess up to 30 grams of legal cannabis in its dried or “equivalent non-dried form” in public.

The act, however, severely restricts underage people from possessing cannabis.