RPS hopes new system for cannabis permits takes a bite out of black market

Regina Police is hoping a new system to allocate retail cannabis permits will hopefully minimize illegal dispensaries.

The province has announced a new phase-in open market system to allow more legal cannabis retailers in cities and smaller communities.

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Police Chief Evan Bray says the province will deal with the licensed retailers to ensure they have the proper documents and supply, but officers will continue investigating illegal dispensaries. “So the ones that pop up where they don’t have a license and they’re not supposed to be selling under the provincial regulations, that’s where we get asked to step in and that’s consistent across Canada.”

Bray says it’s a lot more of a grey area when working with illegal dispensaries because it’s not as cut and dry and checking licenses and product packaging. “When you are dealing with illegal dispensaries, which we’ve had to do prior to legalization and then we’ve done it again subsequent to the legislation coming into force, it’s a lot more of an investigative process and so we will have to continue to monitor that. We will continue to work with the province and determine whether or not any enforcement action is needed.”

He adds that he is hopeful that this will help minimize the black market. “I think that’s the theory that the province in going with and if they open up the market a little more, it could take a bite out of the illegal market and we know that that has its challenges in a community.”

“That’s the theory behind it and I do hope it makes that positive impact,” says Bray.

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