Ottawa medical marijuana dispensary plans to stay open despite raids

An owner of one of the Ottawa medical marijuana dispensaries not targeted in a police operation last week is vowing to stay open, even if he has to take legal action to make that happen.

By Ryan Tumilty

Don Briere, owner of Weeds Glass and Gifts in Ottawa, as well as multiple similar stores in British Columbia, said he is not planning to close after Ottawa police raided other marijuana dispensaries last Friday.

“What we’re doing is we are going to stay the course. We’re going to stay open,” he said.

Ottawa police executed search warrants at seven dispensaries and arrested nine people on Friday. In a news release, they also said they would continue to investigate complaints about dispensaries as they came forward.

Briere’s stores were not part of the raid in Ottawa, but he said he is concerned about what police might do next. He said he has been speaking with his lawyers and hopes to file some sort of an injunction that would prevent Ottawa police from closing his stores.

He said the courts have ruled that medical marijuana users have a right to reasonable access to marijuana and dispensaries are providing that.

“Reasonable access doesn’t mean getting in your wheelchair and following Highway 1 down to Vancouver,” he said. 

Health Canada allows medical marijuana users to order the drug from licensed suppliers who then ship it via the mail. Users are also allowed to grow marijuana for themselves and up to two others.

Briere said Washington State, Colorado and Oregon all allow over-the-counter marijuana sales, and he doesn’t understand why that can’t be the model for recreational pot in Canada.

He accused lobbyists for drug stores of trying to shape the government’s plans because they want to control the market.

He said there is no reason not to follow the dispensary model when legislation is introduced next spring.

“There is an industry here it’s already viable. We have 118 plus staff that are working, they’re paying income tax.”

This article originally appeared in Metro News.