Councillor supports additional resources for police effort to close illegal marijuana dispensaries

News Dec 21, 2018 by Craig Campbell Stoney Creek News

City Coun. Chad Collins said he would support providing additional resources to Hamilton police in the ongoing effort to shut down illegal marijuana dispensaries.

“I’d love to confiscate every single building that’s involved with this. I’ll be the first one to work with my colleagues to give (police) the resources,” Collins said during the first Hamilton Police Services Board meeting of the new council term.

City councillor and fellow new police board member Tom Jackson asked Chief Eric Girt to elaborate on the difficulty of permanently shutting down illegal marijuana dispensaries.

“We want to make sure we do it properly,” Girt said.

Deputy Chief Dan Kinsella spoke to city councillors at a general issues committee earlier in the week regarding challenges shutting down illegal pot shops. He noted 30 operators were raided and criminally charged by police between January and October this year. Of those, 85 per cent were only given peace bonds by the court — a signed promise to keep the peace and be of good behaviour —  and went right back into business.

Girt noted one former illegal dispensary operator told councillors they averaged between $40,000 and $60,000 a day. He said a minimum fine of around $10,000 is seen as the cost of doing business and doesn’t stop the illegal stores from operating.

Kinsella told the board that since legalization in October, nine more search warrants were executed and nine dispensaries shut down. Twenty-seven people face criminal charges and it remains to be seen what the court does and if the dispensaries reopen.

“There might be a perception in the courts that it’s just a business. It’s not. There’s no regulations,” Girt said.

Kinsella said that locking the doors of raided dispensaries would require the police, and the City of Hamilton, to accept legal liability for the buildings and any assets inside. That would incur additional costs such as hiring security.

“We don’t want to expose the police, and the city, to lawsuits,” Girt said.

He said he’s holding out hope the courts will recognize the huge profit margin of the illegal stores and the risks involved in unregulated marijuana that could be mixed with other drugs.

“I don’t have great faith in the courts doing the maximum,” Collins said. “My fear is we’ll be left in the same situation, with dozens open. I firmly believe the federal and provincial governments have dropped the ball.”

Councillor supports additional resources for police effort to close illegal marijuana dispensaries

Collins doesn't have much faith in courts to impose maximum penalties

News Dec 21, 2018 by Craig Campbell Stoney Creek News

City Coun. Chad Collins said he would support providing additional resources to Hamilton police in the ongoing effort to shut down illegal marijuana dispensaries.

“I’d love to confiscate every single building that’s involved with this. I’ll be the first one to work with my colleagues to give (police) the resources,” Collins said during the first Hamilton Police Services Board meeting of the new council term.

City councillor and fellow new police board member Tom Jackson asked Chief Eric Girt to elaborate on the difficulty of permanently shutting down illegal marijuana dispensaries.

“We want to make sure we do it properly,” Girt said.

“I’d love to confiscate every single building that’s involved with this."
Chad Collins

Deputy Chief Dan Kinsella spoke to city councillors at a general issues committee earlier in the week regarding challenges shutting down illegal pot shops. He noted 30 operators were raided and criminally charged by police between January and October this year. Of those, 85 per cent were only given peace bonds by the court — a signed promise to keep the peace and be of good behaviour —  and went right back into business.

Girt noted one former illegal dispensary operator told councillors they averaged between $40,000 and $60,000 a day. He said a minimum fine of around $10,000 is seen as the cost of doing business and doesn’t stop the illegal stores from operating.

Kinsella told the board that since legalization in October, nine more search warrants were executed and nine dispensaries shut down. Twenty-seven people face criminal charges and it remains to be seen what the court does and if the dispensaries reopen.

“There might be a perception in the courts that it’s just a business. It’s not. There’s no regulations,” Girt said.

Kinsella said that locking the doors of raided dispensaries would require the police, and the City of Hamilton, to accept legal liability for the buildings and any assets inside. That would incur additional costs such as hiring security.

“We don’t want to expose the police, and the city, to lawsuits,” Girt said.

He said he’s holding out hope the courts will recognize the huge profit margin of the illegal stores and the risks involved in unregulated marijuana that could be mixed with other drugs.

“I don’t have great faith in the courts doing the maximum,” Collins said. “My fear is we’ll be left in the same situation, with dozens open. I firmly believe the federal and provincial governments have dropped the ball.”

Councillor supports additional resources for police effort to close illegal marijuana dispensaries

Collins doesn't have much faith in courts to impose maximum penalties

News Dec 21, 2018 by Craig Campbell Stoney Creek News

City Coun. Chad Collins said he would support providing additional resources to Hamilton police in the ongoing effort to shut down illegal marijuana dispensaries.

“I’d love to confiscate every single building that’s involved with this. I’ll be the first one to work with my colleagues to give (police) the resources,” Collins said during the first Hamilton Police Services Board meeting of the new council term.

City councillor and fellow new police board member Tom Jackson asked Chief Eric Girt to elaborate on the difficulty of permanently shutting down illegal marijuana dispensaries.

“We want to make sure we do it properly,” Girt said.

“I’d love to confiscate every single building that’s involved with this."
Chad Collins

Deputy Chief Dan Kinsella spoke to city councillors at a general issues committee earlier in the week regarding challenges shutting down illegal pot shops. He noted 30 operators were raided and criminally charged by police between January and October this year. Of those, 85 per cent were only given peace bonds by the court — a signed promise to keep the peace and be of good behaviour —  and went right back into business.

Girt noted one former illegal dispensary operator told councillors they averaged between $40,000 and $60,000 a day. He said a minimum fine of around $10,000 is seen as the cost of doing business and doesn’t stop the illegal stores from operating.

Kinsella told the board that since legalization in October, nine more search warrants were executed and nine dispensaries shut down. Twenty-seven people face criminal charges and it remains to be seen what the court does and if the dispensaries reopen.

“There might be a perception in the courts that it’s just a business. It’s not. There’s no regulations,” Girt said.

Kinsella said that locking the doors of raided dispensaries would require the police, and the City of Hamilton, to accept legal liability for the buildings and any assets inside. That would incur additional costs such as hiring security.

“We don’t want to expose the police, and the city, to lawsuits,” Girt said.

He said he’s holding out hope the courts will recognize the huge profit margin of the illegal stores and the risks involved in unregulated marijuana that could be mixed with other drugs.

“I don’t have great faith in the courts doing the maximum,” Collins said. “My fear is we’ll be left in the same situation, with dozens open. I firmly believe the federal and provincial governments have dropped the ball.”