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The Globe and Mail

Winnipeg police raid marijuana store, arrest owner

Health officials acknowledged there would likely be little progress toward legalization of marijuana while the anti-drug Conservatives hold power in Ottawa, instead suggesting such a radical change would likely come about only if the Liberals win the fall election.

Jeff Chiu/AP

Winnipeg police have moved to close a controversial medical marijuana shop in the city, going so far as to remove the sign hanging from a shingle over the "Your Medical Cannabis Headquarters."

There are reports that store owner Glenn Price was taken into custody but police have not said if charges have been laid.

Earlier this year, Health Canada moved to make it legal for licensed providers to sell marijuana in everything from brownies to lip balm. Vancouver became the first Canadian municipality to regulate medical marijuana dispensaries, requiring operators to pay a $30,000 licensing fee and locate at least 300 metres away from community centres, schools, and each other.

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Price was warned his business would be closed because he was not properly licensed, but his supporters held a rally last month and he reopened the store in defiance of the police order.

He even got the support of federal Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau, who has spoken out in favour of legalizing marijuana and who said during a stop in Winnipeg that storefronts such as Price's should be allowed to operate.

Price has said he only provides the product to people with appropriate medical documentation and said he's helped hundreds of people since opening on July 1.

However, Winnipeg police said in a news release Tuesday that only dealers authorized by Health Canada are allowed to sell cannabis because there are "stringent controls to ensure public safety."

The department said unlicensed sellers are "marketing a substance whose quality and content is unverified. This may pose a significant health risk to the consumer."

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