A local medicinal marijuana dispensary operator is standing firm in his committment to have stores like his regulated and licensed.
Clint Younge of MMJ says despite the ongoing enforcement and seizures by police, he won’t back down because it’s the patients that suffer. His three locations were raided on Thursday but were open for business again by Sunday.
There are over 40 illegal dispensaries operating in the city, but Younge tells CHML’s Bill Kelly that there is a key piece that the government needs to address before it is legalized this summer.
“It’ll be distributed out of LCBO’s for recreational cannabis. Now, this is where it is very key that everybody needs to understand: medicinal cannabis dispensaries are completely different than recreational dispensaries.”
Younge says his shops deal with patients who are licensed by the federal government and for those that aren’t, they refer them to a doctor who will prescribe it and help them to navigate the system in order to get a proper license.
Younge says he thinks the government is only addressing the recreational side because it isn’t sure how to approach medicinal users and shops. “It’s such a finicky topic because once you’re playing with patients and constitutional rights of patients, it’s not as cut and dry as just eliminate this shop.”
Younge says charges were laid against his store managers in last week’s raids, but he says the police aren’t the ones people should be blaming.
“Every time that we’ve ever had to deal with police they’ve been absolutely amazing. The standards that they’re setting when they come in, the way that they’re treating the staff, the way that they’re viewing things, is you know, is as positive as it could get.”
Younge says he doesn’t see this as a crackdown by police, but a push from the politicians.
A raid on his Ottawa Street store last year resulted in the manager there being charged but in the end given a peace bond.
“There’s a major disconnect again between the government and the judicial system in this scenario, where really nobody in the courts are finding any of these people guilty.”
Younge is meeting with city politicians and hopes to find a way to regulate medicinal dispensaries like his in the future, and carve out a medicinal market in Hamilton and across Ontario.