The Ottawa police are tired of hearing complaints about local marijuana dispensaries. They stated that legitimate complaints are focused around issues like pot shops in proximity to schools or other youth-oriented environments.
So, no longer will the police be accepting complaints centered around the belief that marijuana is a bad substance that should remain illegal.
On Monday, during the Ottawa Police Services Board, Chief Charles Bordeleau made it clear that the unnecessary illegitimate complaints will no longer be accepted.
He advised that people contact the Ottawa Police Service (OPS) with legitimate issues.
“COUNCILORS TO ENCOURAGE PEOPLE TO CONTACT THE OPS TO FILE LEGITIMATE COMPLAINTS REGARDING A DISPENSARY. BY LEGITIMATE WE ARE REFERENCING SOMETHING THAT GOES BEYOND PERSONAL BELIEFS ABOUT MARIJUANA OR BELIEFS THAT MARIJUANA SHOULD NOT BE AVAILABLE TO ANYONE AT ANY TIME.”
Chris Renwick of the criminal investigations department addressed the matter of people’s negative beliefs about marijuana, explaining the OPS is not the moral barometer of the city.
Currently, there are 12 marijuana dispensaries in Ottawa, but the police have received very few complaints.
“WE’RE REALLY NOT SEEING THE VOLUME OF SPECIFIC CONCERNS OF RESIDENTS AND NEIGHBORS THAT WE ANTICIPATED.”
Difference in opinion
Rideau-Vanier Council. Mathieu Fleury believe that the OPS is playing a game.
He queries why the police are awaiting complaints before they enforce the law.
“SO DON’T THE POLICE HAVE TO ENFORCE THE LAW? THEY’RE ILLEGAL. WHY DO THEY NEED COMPLAINTS BEFORE ACTING?”
In addition, last month Fleury asked city staff to examine what the bylaw department is doing to eliminate illegal marijuana dispensaries, However Ottawa’s bylaw officers don’t have authority to shut down marijuana dispensaries.
Yes, selling marijuana is illegal, but criminal offenses are not handled by the bylaw officers.
However, until new federal laws have been implemented, the police must find a way to approach the issue of illegal marijuana dispensaries opening all over the city.
So far, the strategy has been to investigate any complaints that have been made, and then bring the matter the Crown Attorney’s office.
The decision would then be made if to bring the individuals up on criminal charges, taking into consideration the possibility of conviction.
Renwick explained that the OPS is utilizing information from the public to assist in their investigations.
“WE’RE ASKING THE PUBLIC, IF YOU HAVE SPECIFIC COMPLAINTS, PLEASE, CALL US BECAUSE THERE’S A LOT OF THIRD-HAND COMPLAINTS, THERE’S A LOT OF ANECDOTES COMING TO US, BUT WE’RE REALLY NOT SEEING THE VOLUME OF SPECIFIC CONCERNS OF RESIDENTS AND NEIGHBORS THAT WE ANTICIPATED.”