I have warned three times now of the coming crime wave once the City of Victoria began allowing medical marijuana outlets. They are springing up like weeds (pun intended) all over and the crime I warned would be coming is arriving with them. The latest armed robbery of Weeds Social Club in Victoria is part of the onset of Victoria’s coming crime wave which hasn’t even really gotten going yet.
It is concerning that two of the three incidents I have reported on surrounding these medical marijuana outlets have involved weapons. Somebody is going to get hurt unless sanity is brought to bear on this situation. Is it going to take somebody dying before the City of Victoria gets the message that its policies are dangerous and promote crime?
There is a part of me that wonders, although not likely, if this armed robbery has anything to do with the business records that were stolen in the burglary of the medical marijuana supplier in Langford a few days ago
Anyhow, here is the police media release concerning the armed robbery of Weeds Social Club
Victoria, BC – VicPD investigators are looking to speak with witnesses after a local marijuana dispensary was robbed.
Officers were called to the Weeds Social Club, a marijuana dispensary in the 1600-block of Douglas Street, around 10 p.m. last night for a report of an armed robbery. The investigation revealed that a man entered the dispensary, produced a weapon and made off with an undisclosed amount of cash and drugs. There were no injuries.
The suspect is described as a Caucasian man, standing 5′ 9″ with a slim build wearing a blue sweat top with a dark hood. While the man wore a disguise, he is believed to be in his 20s to early 30s. He was last seen riding a white BMX-style bicycle.
Investigators are looking to speak with anyone who was in the area at the time or who may have information about this incident. Please call our non-emergency line at (250) 995-7654. To report anonymously, please call CrimeStoppers at 1 800-222-8477.
Here is my explanation about medical marijuana and the crime associated with it from my previous blog posting
Whether for or against the legalization of pot, you should be both concerned and alarmed at the proliferation of illegal pot outlets in Vancouver and Victoria, especially when you realize that if these outlets create any significant revenues for these cities, other cities will quickly jump aboard. It makes no difference whether you call them Compassion Clubs or whatever euphemistic terminology might be developed, they are illegal establishments which deal in a controlled substance and their existence and the activist judges and municipalities who condone them are a large part of how and why marijuana threatens to destroy our youth. We must find the answer to safely navigating our medical marijuana dilemma.
My concerns are not about the value of marijuana as a medicine, but about a breakdown in the “rule of law” surrounding what almost feels like a hysterical movement to grant it a quasi-legal status and the resultant harm to our youth and our society
Marijuana definitely has a medicinal value
The idea of marijuana being used as a medicine is widely talked about and almost seems to be a mission of Dr. Sanjay Gupta, CNN, Cable News Network Medical Consultant. There can be no rational debate as to whether or not marijuana has a medicinal value; the empirical data is absolutely compelling and unquestionable, especially marijuana treatment as it relates to certain types of pain control and seizure control, as well as to many other chronic diseases. It is a fact; marijuana has the ability to favorably alter the quality of life for many individuals. These truths about marijuana are recognized, begrudgingly, by Health Canada and even by the somewhat paranoid FDA, Food and Drug Administration in the United States.
THC, or tetrahydrocannabinol, is the chemical responsible for most of marijuana’s psychological effects. “It acts much like the cannabinoid chemicals made naturally by the body“, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA).
“Cannabinoid receptors are concentrated in certain areas of the brain associated with thinking, memory, pleasure, coordination and time perception. THC attaches to these receptors and activates them and affects a person’s memory, pleasure, movements, thinking, concentration, coordination, and sensory and time perception“, according to NIDA.
“THC is one of many compounds found in the resin secreted by glands of the marijuana plant. More of these glands are found around the reproductive organs of the plant than on any other area of the plant. Other compounds unique to marijuana, called cannabinoids, are present in this resin. One cannabinoid, CBD is non-psychoactive“, according to the National Center for Biotechnology Information, “and actually blocks the high associated with THC“.
Because of criminal involvement in the sale of marijuana for recreational use, marijuana is mired in misery, steeped in violence and surrounded by death; from that standpoint alone, it is not a harmless drug, and this criminal involvement is now an equal threat to the medical marijuana industry
Motorcycle gangs and ethnicity based gangs dominate the pot scene
For at least the last decade motorcycle gangs, and more recently, ethnicity based gangs have dominated the marijuana business, along with the other controlled drugs here in Canada. They have accomplished that domination through violence, through brutality and through murder. BC Bud, as it is called, has long been a sought after commodity because of its potency (high levels of THC).
The cross border trade in marijuana and guns
The various gangs smuggle their marijuana south of the border to the U.S. where they trade it for cocaine and weapons which they then smuggle back to Canada, selling the cocaine at a high profit margin because the even trade, ounce for ounce, of BC Bud for cocaine creates a very large profit margin.
The guns? They use those to control the drug trade
These are the gangs that Stew Young’s policies have invited to Langford and that are being allowed to entrench themselves into that municipality because Stew keeps sending its citizens false hopes by challenging their presence with bylaw infractions instead of working with other municipalities to institute a policing model that might actually succeed in staving off much of the coming violence there.
Gangs are seizing control of the medical marijuana industry
For at least the past year, I am personally aware that gangs have been actively buying up and/or otherwise taking over the licenses of individuals who have the right to grow marijuana for their own personal, medical use. By combining the yield from those licenses, and also by forcing individual licensees to grow more than they are permitted, these gangs are infiltrating and taking over the medical marijuana trade and converting what was originally a compassionate, but ill conceived program, into an organized criminal enterprise.
Was this not predictable?
What did our government think was going to happen when it began licensing individuals to grow weed? Did they really believe that there are enough police to go out and visit every individual licensee on a regular basis to ensure that each licensee is in compliance with regulations?
Gangs goals in the production of pot versus medical goals
Let us look at two simple, yet undeniable, facts:
- As we learned earlier, two of the main active properties of pot are found in THC, the psychoactive chemical that produces a high, and in CBD, the chemical principally responsible for the physical, medical benefits thereof. Thus, the ideal strain of pot for medical use would be one low in THC and high in CBD.
- Far more individuals use pot for recreational purposes than use it for medical purposes.
Since gangs are in the business of maximizing their illegal profits no matter the misery they create for society, and since, by far, the largest number of pot buyers comes from the recreational users side of the spectrum, instead of from medical users, do you think that the gangs would prefer to produce and sell a marijuana strain high in THC, the psychoactive ingredient, or high in CBD, the physioactive and curative ingredient?
Thus, with gangs selling pot to the plethora of “supposed” medical marijuana dispensaries that sprout like weeds in Vancouver and Victoria, and will continue to do so unless some sanity is brought to the medical marijuana industry, these dispensaries will be selling pot with the exact opposite properties of what is medically needed.
Would you fill your prescriptions at a pharmacy which buys its medicine supplies from a criminal organization or use medicine that is produced to give the exact opposite effects of what you need?
This is precisely what Vancouver is proposing that you do and exactly what Victoria is thinking of proposing. It is absolute insanity.
As I write this blog posting, there are 25 commercially licensed pot growers in Canada and gang activity is already having a negative impact on their businesses. Why are we allowing criminal organizations to threaten legitimate businesses?
One of Nanaimo’s largest employers recently laid off some 1/3 of its staff
Tilray, a leading supplier of medical marijuana, although the news article quoted herein from CBC does not specify the illegal supplying of marijuana to its customer base, I have it on reliable inside information that that is precisely the reason for the layoffs cited in the news article. In fact, a careful reading of that news article certainly lends itself to such a conclusion when it says, “…serve patients and the MMPR market as it exists today…”
“One of Vancouver Island’s largest medical marijuana growing companies announced Thursday it is laying off 61 employees. Tilray opened its Nanaimo facility in 2014 and at its peak employed nearly 200 people, giving it a high profile as a major employer in the region.”
“The company insists the layoffs will not have any impact on the thousands of patients we serve”, according to a statement from Tilray CEO Greg Engel. “Tilray is making changes to our operating model to more efficiently serve patients and the MMPR market as it exists today,” Engel wrote.
“Tilray is well-capitalized and confident in our long-term business strategy, and we are operating more efficiently than ever before.“
Think about this also
Organized crime, in the form of gangs involved in the medical marijuana business, is already costing Nanaimo legitimate business, and it is business that will likely never return because the buyers from the gangs will not be allowed by the gangs to take their business elsewhere.
The legalization of marijuana for medical purposes is absolutely correct, but that legalization must come through our federal government and the road to that legalization must be well planned and well built, otherwise we are funding the coffers of organized crime and sending the wrong message to our youth
Right now, Victoria is contemplating licensing illegal marijuana stores and Vancouver has already opted for money over morality and over commonsense by doing so; Canadian cities need to get out of the business of establishing illegal storefronts to dispense marijuana
In Vancouver, they have imposed a $30,000 licensing fee for private marijuana businesses. When this fee is combined with tax revenues and whatever other charges the city can dream up, it amounts to a cash windfall.
It is a disgusting display of greed as Vancouver violates federal law and legalizes drug dealing under the guise of public health, and they do so with a cheerleading squad led by those who care nothing about the medicinal value of marijuana, but only use its medical benefits as a rallying cry so they can get high with less possibility of any legal consequences.
Licensing pot shops in Victoria is akin to offering motorcycle gangs and ethnicity based gangs an invitation to set up in Victoria.
These pot shops will not only buy their weed from gangs, many will be run by gangs and owned by gangs
Gangs are in the business of vice, they sell those things which threaten the moral values and the legal values of society. Recreational pot definitely falls within those categories. It is not possible for the City of Victoria to establish a licensing standard that would preclude gang ownership of any shop selling marijuana as such ownership can be established through relatives and friends.
What the City of Victoria is really thinking about is inviting dope dealers and other criminals to set up shop in Victoria.
When I speak to our youth about the recreational use of pot, I always give them truth (detailed below); they can handle the truth, but they cannot handle the hypocrisy of municipalities violating federal laws
- Your brain will not be fully developed until you are in your twenties and the younger you are when you start drugs, the greater the chance you will end up a hopeless addict.
- This is the time you are training your brain. You can train it to be weak or you can train it to be strong. Taking any drug for non-medicinal purposes trains it to be weak.
All drugs physically alter your brain.
- All drugs are gateway drugs. They are the gateway to your own personal hell. They teach you to hang out with the wrong people, people who don’t care about you, but only care about having somebody, anybody, to get high with, people who have no goals and people whose future is as bleak as yours will be if you start down the road of drugs; they train you to run from your troubles rather than face them, and they convince you that the only happiness you will ever find in your life is getting high.
With Vancouver already violating federal law and Victoria preparing to vote on possibly joining Vancouver. What is the message to our youth?
Are we not telling our youth that the “rule of law” does not matter, that if enough people don’t like the law or if there is enough money to made by violating it then we have the right to ignore it? We give them this message with our actions while we preach the opposite with our words.
It is called “being a sorry example”, and it teaches our youth a lack of respect for our laws, as well as for the those who enforce our laws, namely, the courts and the police.
How will this affect our police? How will this affect Crown Prosecutors? How will the courts react? How did we get to this point?
I place the principal blame for this situation on the courts which have, de facto, de-criminalized pot
We have a court system with judges sworn to uphold the law. Despite this fact, we have too many activist judges who, disagreeing with the severity of the suggested sentences for marijuana related offenses have handed down punishment far more lenient than was intended by our lawmakers and have weakened the laws to the point that nobody fears the repercussions.
The really sad thing about all these watered down sentences is that with each sentence these judges are creating something known in the law as “Precedent“. Precedent, simply stated, is a “…is a principle or rule established in a previous legal case that is either binding on or persuasive for a court or other tribunal when deciding subsequent cases with similar issues or facts“.
As implied by its meaning, a precedent, once established, is something that determines judges’ sentencing for years to come. Thus the leniency toward marijuana by the courts, a leniency that has existed for several years now, is destined to continue for another decade or longer unless and until all or most judges change that precedent by a series of harsher sentences for marijuana related offenses.
What are the courts going to do when individuals are brought before them in violation of a federal law, but in compliance with a city bylaw?
Judges’ actions and the Precedents they establish have a direct effect on Crown Prosecutors, on the police and on criminal activity
Crown Prosecutors make decisions to charge an individual based upon the severity of a crime, the likelihood of conviction and whether or not the courts take the crime seriously. When certain crimes are taken less seriously by the courts, as demonstrated by very light sentences, rather than have a trial, the prosecutors and the defense lawyers tend to “plea bargain” the punishment by offering a light sentence, such as probation, in return for a “guilty” plea. This saves the prosecutors time with which to go after crimes that exact more severe sentences from the courts.
Police, in turn, and to allow them to use their time more efficiently to apprehend criminals, shy away from referring criminal infractions to crown prosecutors when it has been the experience of the police that those prosecutors are unlikely to lay charges against the individual.
Criminals are very aware of how certain crimes are viewed by the courts and tailor their crimes, whenever possible, in such a manner as to be a crime that often yields little punishment, or perhaps, will never even get to court except for a “slap on the wrist” plea bargain. For instance, if an individual is caught with marijuana, the criminal knows that carrying an ounce of that weed in bulk will bring about a very minor sentence for simple possession, as opposed to having that exact same amount of weed divided up into $20 baggies with could bring a charge of “Possession for the Purpose of Trafficking”, a far more serious charge.
Are not medicinally regulated drugs supposed to be controlled through prescriptions from doctors and dispensed through licensed pharmacists trained in their profession?
Under the current plan being considered in the capital city, within the next year, weed businesses will almost certainly outnumber liquor stores
As of the date of this blog post, at least according to a recent article by Jack Knox in the Times Colonist, there are twenty-four liquor stores in Victoria and twenty weed related businesses. Thus, the number of liquor stores which took decades to come into fruition have almost been eclipsed by weed related businesses, just in the last two years.
The basic model is already in place for prescribing and dispensing controlled medicines. Why do not need to re-invent the wheel? Why is this model correct for every drug other than marijuana?
Let pharmacists dispense marijuana to those individuals who have a legitimate prescription for it and let that prescription be valid for a certain form of the drug, with a doctor determined amount and with a doctor determined limit on the number of refills.
Any other means of prescribing and dispensing marijuana, since doctors have no accountability for the issuance of “marijuana rights cards” will undoubtedly lead to a handful of unscrupulous doctors “on the take” issuing “blanket marijuana rights cards“, as well as some individuals with such a card/certificate entitling them to buy weed, or the derivatives thereof, doing so for their buddies, or even purchasing simply for the purposes of reselling.
Yes, there will need to be some minor changes in the supply chain to the pharmacist, but such changes can be instituted with a minimum need for system tweaks and absent any need for an entire supply and dispensing apparatus to be invented, instituted and overseen.
In a twist of irony, with all of this considered, for those who really need marijuana for medical purposes, the only way they will ever get what they need is if recreational pot is re-criminalized, not de-criminalized, and the courts MUST lead the way
The effects of re-criminalization by the courts:
- We ensure that the marijuana going to our sick is adequate to do the job
- We establish a stronger deterrent against gang involvement with weed
- We stop the demoralization of crown prosecutors and police who are becoming increasingly frustrated by the courts
- We ensure that our youth do not see a marijuana dispensary on every block
- We send our youth a clear and consistent message that the “”rule of law” is an integral part of Canadian life
- We encourage the growth of legitimate businesses, businesses that are legally licensed by the federal government and businesses that employ citizens and actually pay taxes rather than steal from us and destroy what might be the finest health care system in the world
I am proud to be Canadian, but I hate what is happening to our laws and I will feel shame as tourists flock off of cruise ships and airplanes to see our streets rife with storefronts selling marijuana
Our reputation, as a “world class” tourist destination is at stake if our city makes the wrong move on this issue
Victoria needs to remain a preferred tourist destination based on its culture, based on its diversity, based on its restaurants, based on the friendliness of its people and based on its harbour, not based on its drug scene.
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