It’s business as usual at Mary Jane’s Monday in downtown Williams Lake, despite the fact the marijuana dispensary was raided again by police Sunday.
“I’m doing the right thing, I know I am,” Mark Cowan, Mary Jane’s manager, told the Tribune Monday of being opened for business the next day.
“I know I’m helping people — I get thanked on a daily basis. I can’t let fear stop me [from being opened.]”
Cowan and two staff members were arrested Sunday evening and expect to be charged. He said nine or more officers entered the store April 15 at about 5 p.m.
According to Williams Lake RCMP, police executed the search warrant “following an intense investigation into marijuana trafficking.”
“Three individuals were arrested as a result of the investigation. Investigators will be working with the BC Prosecution Service and pursuing charges of possession for the purpose of trafficking. One of the individuals arrested is currently facing similar charges from a previous file,” noted Cpl. Madonna Saunderson, District Advisory NCO (Media Relations) for the North District.
During the search, Saunderson said police located and seized more than two kilograms of marijuana, a large sum of cash, as well as property directly related to drug trafficking.
It is the second time the store has been the subject of a police raid resulting in charges.
“We still haven’t had a chance to defend ourselves in court on the last charges,” Cowan said, referring to charges he faces after a police search April 4, 2017.
Cowan said he has a date set for October in Williams Lake Supreme Court where he plans to defend himself.
“Our customers are all adults seeking an alternative,” he said. “We are a legitimate business providing a service.”
Williams Lake RCMP Staff Sgt. Del Byron said police have a duty to stop illegal activity.
“These store front marijuana dispensaries are not legal,” Byron said Monday.
“Maybe in the future they will be, but right now they are not.”
Insp. Jeff Pelley, OIC Williams Lake detachment, said Williams Lake RCMP will continue to their efforts.
”The RCMP continues to target illicit drug trafficking in the community and it is a high priority of the detachment,” Pelley stated. “We take this very seriously and are committed to seeking evidence to support charges and hold people accountable who actively participate in these types of offences.”
Cowan said while he has now seen two raids by the RCMP, he has actually enjoyed a very positive, welcoming relationship with the City of Williams Lake.
“The city has been great. They have been wonderful and more than accommodating,” Cowan said, noting the city just renewed Mary Jane’s business licence in January.
Mary Jane’s operates seven days a week, 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Saturday, and 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Sunday.
When asked if he still had product to sell following the raid, Cowan said he learned a few things after the first raid last year.
“We never keep all our eggs in one basket.”