Opinion

Pot shops more like civil disobedience

Since the RCMP raided three marijuana storefronts in the Municipality of North Cowichan recently we've had letters to the editor both against the raids as a waste of money on something that will soon be legal, and coming down firmly on the side of the raids being the right thing to do as the businesses are, currently, against the law.

It's certainly true that anyone selling marijuana out of a storefront is jumping the gun on legalization. Though the federal Liberal government has promised that pot will soon be legal to buy and sell, a promise that dates back more than a year to their campaign, the exact rules around who will be able to buy and sell have not been set and seem to be still very much up in the air.

It's unclear whether any of the storefronts currently operating will qualify to sell the plant and its derivatives when it is made legal.

Indications are that it will be like alcohol in that sense — it's not just open season, come one, come all, on either side of the counter.

No doubt the shops in operation are hoping that since they have already established themselves they will be grandfathered in to whatever regulatory framework is eventually put in place. But that's by no means a done deal.

We do find the argument compelling that people count on the shops and marijuana to help them cope with medical conditions, and there are certainly far harder drugs out there, many of them available with a doctor's prescription. It certainly seems more desirable to have these folks be able to come to a reputable, public storefront than have to darken back alleys to buy from sinister dealers.

Especially since marijuana will soon be legal, whether people agree with that decision or not. Do we really want to spend our policing, court and possibly even prison resources on something that won't even be a crime by the time it hits the courthouse? Sure, the law won't be retroactive, but it really does seem like a waste, especially when we have criminals walking free on serious crimes because of lack of sheriffs, or their case took too long to come to trial.

All in all, pot shops seem more like civil disobedience at this point.

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