A cluster of demonstrators gathered outside the temporary office of MLA Nicholas Simons in Sechelt after two cannabis shops were raided by law enforcement Feb. 18.
“We got raided by the so-called Community Safety Unit on Tuesday, and we kind of knew eventually it was going to come, but we weren’t backing down. We’re here for our community,” Michelle Sikora told Coast Reporter on Friday at Teredo Square, placard in hand.
Sikora, who runs S&M Medicinal Sweet Shoppe in Gibsons with her husband, said they wanted Simons’ support in “continuing to be able to supply the medical cannabis community, and show the Town of Gibsons that he does support us.”
S&M has a retail business licence from the Town of Gibsons and was granted a temporary use permit for cannabis retail zoning. That permit expired Feb. 20. “We want to be able to renew that [permit], but due to the recent raid on our store, I’m concerned about what the town may say about that,” Sikora said.
The cannabis shop, which operates as a medical dispensary, is the only one on the Sunshine Coast that did not apply for a provincial recreational retail licence.
With Simons’ support, they also hope to follow in the footsteps of the Victoria Cannabis Buyers Club. In January, Victoria’s mayor and council unanimously backed a motion to advocate on behalf of the Buyers Club as it seeks an exemption from the province to operate as a medicinal cannabis store. “We want the same thing and we would like Nic to be able to write that letter on our behalf as well,” Sikora said, adding “medical cannabis was legal way before recreational cannabis was, but medical patients are suffering more now.”
We need politicians to set motions before the federal government, making them separate medical dispensaries apart from recreational dispensaries. There needs to be that distinction,” she said.
After the rally Simons told Coast Reporter, “I am supportive of their ongoing efforts to meet the needs of medical patients suffering from the effects of illness or treatment, including many constituents who have contacted me. Patients were given the right to access their medicine, and S&M was meeting that need.”
On Tuesday, the provincial agency that enforces cannabis retailer rules also raided Sun Coast Culture at 5670 Teredo St. in Sechelt. The business had applied for a recreational retailer licence and received an endorsement from the District of Sechelt. The retailer told Coast Reporter it would re-open once the Liquor and Cannabis Regulation Branch issues its licence.
Coastal Bay Cannabis on Marine Drive in Gibsons is the only store on the Sunshine Coast to receive a retail licence.