Nelson Police executed a search warrant on a downtown medical marjuana dispensary and arrested five employees.
Five employees at MMJ marijuana dispensary, 752 Vernon Street, were taken into custody Tuesday morning, March 20, without incident.
Charges against the employees are pending, said a release from NPD Chief Constable Paul Burkart, adding that all five were released from custody Tuesday afternoon.
Until charges are formally laid, Burkart said the NPD will be making no further comment as the investigation is ongoing. A further update can be expected in the next week.
“The Nelson Police Department and the City of Nelson have attempted to deal fairly, professionally and progressively with the medical marijuana businesses that sell product to legitimate customers who require prescribed medical marijuana,” said Burkart, adding “Shops owners and staff have been educated by both our department and city staff that licensing is strictly for medical marijuana.”
The chief constable continued, “Business owners and their staff should be well aware that any activities outside the sale of medical marijuana could be subject to investigation, and may result in charges, both under local bylaws and the Criminal Code.”
MMJ was closed Wednesday and did not return a telephone message.
The arrests come as the city prepares to draft a bylaw dealing with the future of cannabis sales and consumption in Nelson ahead of the legalization of recreational marijuana this summer.
The city send out feedback forms to every household and business within city limits, which were returned by February. City staff and council were using the unformation to help draft regulations in March that is scheduled to be made public in April.
In March 2017, Nelson city council voted to amend a zoning bylaw and adopt a business licence bylaw that would allow local dispensaries to remain active at their current locations until federal legislation was introduced.
Late last year, council placed a moratorium on recreational cannabis sales, which is meant to prevent more businesses opening in Nelson before provincial and federal rules are made public.
All of those changes, however, could be completely re-written depending on the feedback given to city staff