Legislation to legalize marijuana has yet to be introduced, but medical marijuana dispensaries continue to open at a regular pace across New Brunswick.
HBB Medical has opened a second location in the Saint John area to service a customer base in the Kennebecasis Valley. There are now five HBBs in operation, four in New Brunswick and one in Dartmouth, N.S. with plans to expand more across the Atlantic provinces.
READ MORE: Medical marijuana dispensaries ‘a pebble in our shoe’: Saint John Police Chief
Company president Hank Merchant said he’s not in it for the money.
“If you could spend one day in my shoes and watch the people come in and go in any one of our dispensaries, it’s amazing,” Merchant said. “People have two words to say to you and they are, ‘Thank you.’”
The legalization of marijuana is coming according to the Trudeau government, but it’s not here yet.
Currently, Moncton-based OrganiGram is the only licensed marijuana dispensary in New Brunswick. The others are unlawful according to the province.
Police chiefs have recently been told if they want to bring a file forward to the Crown, it will decide if prosecution is viable.
READ MORE: Government to cut how much medical marijuana veterans can get for free
“For all prosecutions in the Province of New Brunswick our prosecutors review files and determine if there’s sufficient evidence and if it meets the public interest test,” said Luc Labonte, New Brunswick’s assistant deputy attorney general and director of public prosecutions. “That’s our threshold test. It has to be more likely that charges can be proven or not.”
Labonte uses alcohol as an analogy.
“If I was to open a beer store in downtown Saint John tomorrow it would not be permitted,” he explained. “So you can only sell alcohol in certain places, in certain manners and you can only possess alcohol in certain manners. Well the same thing will happen with marijuana.”
READ MORE: 53% of Atlantic Canadians support marijuana legalization: poll
Merchant said he’s willing to take the legal risk to service his clients but his goal is to be officially licensed in the future.
“We don’t want to operate outside the law,” he said. “I’ve always advocated, I’m a law abiding citizen and we want to continue being that way”.
There’s been no indication how police will respond to the matter in the immediate future
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