CMCIA Calls on Federal Government to Address Illegal Marijuana Dispensaries – Government Action Needed to Protect Public Health and Safety

OTTAWA, Jan. 15, 2016 – The Canadian Medical Cannabis Industry Association (CMCIA), which represents cannabis producers licensed and inspected by Health Canada, is calling on the federal government to address the proliferation of illegal marijuana dispensaries in Canada, in order to protect public health and public safety.

On January 11th, British Columbia Supreme Court Justice Paul Walker ruled that operating a marijuana dispensary is illegal, and granted the City of Abbotsford, B.C. an injunction to shut down a locally controversial marijuana store operated by Don Briere, who according to media reports owns of a chain of dozens of illegal dispensaries in B.C. and Toronto.Mr. Briere’s reaction was a vow to continue to defy the law, telling the Globe and Mail, “We’re not stopping, we’re not even slowing down. We’re going to speed up.”

“The situation is getting out of control,” said Colette Rivet, Executive Director of CMCIA. “In the past few months, more than 30 dispensaries have opened in Toronto, selling illegal, unregulated marijuana to people, many of whom are not aware that they are breaking the law. The marijuana comes from unknown sources with no quality control, no guarantee it doesn’t contain contaminants, no product recall system, and no interest in properly protecting the interests of legitimate medical cannabis patients.”

“Flouting the law, ignoring the concerns of communities, and interfering with the doctor-patient relationship by aggressively promoting illegal marijuana sales is simply wrong,” said Ms. Rivet. “It’s time for the federal government to step in and bring clarity to the situation, by clearly explaining the legal status of medical and non-medical cannabis, and stopping the rapid spread of illegal marijuana stores. The current environment of uncertainty is benefiting criminal organizations, which is counter to the federal government’s stated policy of divorcing cannabis production and distribution from criminal elements.”

Medical cannabis patients across Canada have access to legal, safe, quality controlled cannabis through 27 producers licensed by Health Canada under the Marihuana for Medical Purposes Regulations. Patients who use cannabis to help manage symptoms of a range of health conditions consult with a doctor, receive a medical authorization, and order legal products from a Licensed Producer. Their medical cannabis is delivered by mail order, typically within two days.


The Canadian Medical Cannabis Industry Association (CMCIA) is Canada’s leading member-driven association for Licensed Producers (LPs) of medical cannabis. The Association represent the majority of producers currently licensed under Health Canada’s Marijuana for Medical Purposes Regulations (MMPR).

CMCIA’s mission is to promote national standards and best practices by supporting the development, growth and integrity of the medical cannabis industry. The Association acts as the national voice for Canada’s LPs, and serves as a credible and trusted resource on issues related to the medical cannabis industry.

The Association shares a philosophy of patient-centric care and improved public health, and is committed to product safety and quality, secure and reliable access for registered patients, and the promotion of the safe and effective use of cannabis for medical purposes.

SOURCE Canadian Medical Cannabis Industry Association

For further information: Cam Battley, Chair, Communications Committee, CMCIA,, 905.864.5525