London Marijuana Dispensary Raided Six Days After Opening


A businessperson whose London pot shop was raided by police days after opening is digging in for another battle with authorities.

Police swooped down on Tasty Budd’s medical marijuana dispensary on Whancliffe Road Wednesday, seizing its inventory and arresting two men. The store had opened only six days earlier.

Mal McMeekin, founder of the Tasty Budd’s franchise, which opened in defiance of the law, is thumbing his nose at police, again.

“The plan is to reopen, for sure,” McMeekin said from Halifax. “I feel that it’s an unnecessary use of taxpayers’ money to raid something where we’re just helping people.”

McMeekin and business partner Tim Balogh didn’t consult London police before opening the shop last Friday.

It sells marijuana, hash oil and cannabis-infused edibles to medicinal marijuana users.

Though an estimated 350 pot dispensaries operate across Canada, they’re illegal – despite the Liberal government’s pledge to liberalize Canada’s pot laws – under a federal law that limits the sale of marijuana to a few dozen producers approved by Ottawa.

Dispensary operators argue they provide a needed service for people who use marijuana for medical reasons.

Nathan Lazda, who owns a duplex beside Tasty Budd’s, said he watched as more than a dozen police in tactical gear jumped out of black SUVs and surrounded the shop Wednesday.

“They just kind of rushed in. I heard them yelling a bit,” said Lazda. Police stayed on the scene for about an hour and could be seen carrying boxes out of the building, he said.

The raid was carried out shortly before noon, said police, who seized more than $13,000 worth of marijuana and edibles, along with $400 in cash.

Two men arrested during the search were later released Wednesday night, said Const. Kim Flett.

Tim Balogh, 28, and Josh Flannery, 23, are charged with two counts of drug trafficking and two counts of possession of a controlled substance for the purpose of trafficking.

They are scheduled to appear in court on Sept. 30, Flett said.

Flannery’s father, Dan, showed up at the dispensary late Wednesday afternoon looking for information on his son’s whereabouts.

Flannery said his son, who works at Tasty Budd’s, was reportedly seen being led away in handcuffs earlier in the day.

“From what I was told, everything is legitimate,” Flannery said of the business.

“It’s not like they’re running it out of a back alley and trying to sell it out of a van . . . I don’t see why the police are harassing them.”

McMeekin said Balogh bought the rights to the London franchise.

“I don’t think they should have a charge. What are they doing wrong? They’re giving medication to people that need it,” said the Cole Harbour, N.S., resident.

McMeekin has five other Tasty Budd’s locations – four in Nova Scotia and one in New Brunswick – and said he hasn’t had any problems with police before.

Toronto police have been cracking down on dispensaries since May, seizing marijuana and laying criminal charges.

McMeekin wants London to follow the lead of Vancouver, another city where pot shops have sprouted in anticipation of relaxed laws, and where city officials are working to regulate the businesses.

“The city itself should put in rules and regulations to make sure it doesn’t get out of control, just like they did in B.C.,” said McMeekin.

News Moderator: Katelyn Baker
Full Article: London Marijuana Dispensary Raided Six Days After Opening
Author: Dale Carruthers
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Photo Credit: The London Free Press
Website: The London Free Press