August 18, 2015 12:58 pm

Medical marijuana dispensary opens in Saskatoon

Saskatoon’s first medical marijuana dispensary opens as owner asks city to implement regulations.

Devin Sauer / Global News
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SASKATOON – It’s a first for Saskatoon as a medical marijuana dispensary opened its doors Monday morning. Dried cannabis, marijuana infused candies, and extracted oils are all available from the Saskatchewan Compassion Club.

However, while prescribed marijuana is legal, dispensing it from the store is not.

Medical marijuana can only be dispensed from one of Health Canada’s 18 authorized producers. Mark Hauk’s downtown store is not one of them, but neither are hundreds across Canada where law enforcement turns a blind eye.

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Hauk wants that to change and is asking the city to regulate medical marijuana dispensaries.

“We need a central place for people to come,” he said after presenting his business plan at city hall.

READ MORE: Health Canada now allowing medical marijuana producers to sell cannabis oil

While councillors backed the idea in principle, they sought more information.

“For people that receive pain relief and pain control by using marijuana, I think that we need to be working carefully and conscientiously to insure that happens,” said Ward 2 councillor Pat Lorje.

“As long as he is operating within the law, I think he’s fine,” stated Ward 1 councillor Darren Hill.

That is the issue for Hauk. While he is hopeful city regulations will keep him from being charged, past conversations with police suggest otherwise.

“It doesn’t matter if there’s a bylaw or not, there’s a Criminal Code that you’re not allowed to possess, deliver, sell any controlled substance,” Jerome Engele, who recently retired as an inspector director from the Saskatoon Police Service, told Global News in June.

“It’s technically federally illegal, but my argument is that law is bad, and it’s causing people to suffer so should we continue to blindly adhere to a law that cause those things?” questioned Hauk.

“I say no.”

Hauk has yet to hear from police after his first day of business.

The city is referring the issue to administration for a report, along with asking for a report from the police commission.

Wendy Winiewski contributed to this story

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