Turning inner space into outer space

November 2, 2011

The misguided attempt to shut down the compassion club

I stood outside the Canadian Safe Cannabis Society storefront Tuesday morning as police executed a search warrant inside. And I talked to some of the customers outside who were holding what they called a protest. You can see the video I made in The Daily News website’s video section.

In the end, I’m hard pressed to think of any good reason for the police trying to shut the place down. Yes, it’s illegal, but there are a lot of illegal things people do that police don’t bother with. So it had to be a deliberate decision by the local RCMP detachment.

Was the compassion club, as it is also known, hurting anyone? Did it present a risk or danger to the public? These are the types of things we expect police to concentrate their efforts on. And I can’t think of how this store was placing anyone in jeopardy.

On the other hand, it could easily be argued that closing it would have both immediate and ripple effects that could harm many people. First, there is the obvious fact that clients would find it more difficult to legally obtain medicinal marijuana — a situation that would create mental and physical suffering for them. Second, many of them will wind up buying from dealers on the street — enriching the illegal trade that blights neighbourhoods, creates life-long criminals and puts drugs in the hands of children.

The law should be enforced and applied for the public good, but in this case it clearly is not.