Province shuts down Victoria cannabis dispensary
CTV Vancouver Island
Published Wednesday, July 31, 2019 4:31PM PDT
Last Updated Wednesday, July 31, 2019 6:33PM PDT
For months the province threatened to do it and now it has acted.
Victoria police officers swooped in on a popular unlicensed cannabis dispensary near the Mayfair Shopping Centre Wednesday morning, confiscating the shop's merchandise and locking the doors behind them.
The Trees dispensary on Alpha Street is the first unlicensed dispensary in Victoria to be subjected to enforcement by the provincial government.
"They cleared the stores," said Alex Robb, Chief Executive Officer of Trees Cannabis. “No fines were issue to employees, but they seized all the cannabis products in the store and this store will suspend operations until it can re-open as a licensed store after the application has been processed.”
"We are increasing enforcement action across B.C.,” said Colin Hynes with B.C.'s Public Safety and Solicitor General's office. “The CSU [community safety unit] officers have been actively following up with unlicensed retailers in communities across B.C. and are now increasing enforcement action.”
The move comes on the same day that the province finally opened its first BC Cannabis Store on the island, more than nine months after marijuana was legalized by the federal government.
"I don't think it's a coincidence that today there was a new public BC Cannabis Store opened in Campbell River. I think this is part of the province saying 'We've now put into place a license infrastructure, so if you're operating unlicensed it's time to close down,'" said Robb.
Staff at one of several other Trees dispensary locations in Victoria and Nanaimo say they expect to be similarly shuttered in the coming days.