Nanaimo RCMP seize marijuana, edibles from dispensary near school

Two people were arrested and 15 pounds of marijuana was seized when Nanaimo RCMP carried out a search warrant at one of two Nature’s Source dispensaries in the city. Oils, marijuana edibles and $2,000 were also seized.

The 5th Street business was searched March 9 and remains closed. An employee at the other Nature’s Source Nanaimo location on Front Street said the site will re-open as a glass shop.

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The arrests were made for possession for the purpose of trafficking, with both people being released on a promise to appear in court Aug. 8.

Nanaimo RCMP Const. Gary O’Brien said police took action because the storefront was 500 metres from an elementary school and generating foot and vehicle traffic. “Nanaimo residents had also made their displeasure known to investigators about the storefront and the impact it was having on their neighbourhood.”

O’Brien said other marijuana storefronts operating illegally in the city will be monitored. “All are aware that enforcement action can be taken at any time.”

In February, Nanaimo RCMP shut down a marijuana dispensary located next to a daycare, leading to one arrest. Three Nanaimo dispensaries — one of them the Front Street Nature’s Source — were raided in December 2015.

The raid came about three weeks after cease-and-desist letters were distributed to 10 marijuana businesses.

Green Tree Medical dispensary, a Langford pot shop, was shut down by local authorities Jan. 17 and again Feb. 15.

Nanaimo dispensary owners have been told enforcement will be on a case-by-case basis, O’Brien said.

O’Brien said having to spend a little less time on dealing with fentanyl has allowed police to shift some of their focus, although fentanyl is still a “significant issue.” “We’re starting to identify the [fentanyl] distribution lines and consequently disrupting the flow.”

Nanaimo RCMP Supt. Cameron Miller has said the RCMP is guided by existing laws and legislation. The Liberal Party promised during the 2015 federal election campaign to legalize marijuana.

jwbell@timescolonist.com

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