Police raided a cannabis dispensary on Wednesday, one of two that opened in Campbell River only last week.
Trees Dispensary on 14th Avenue was raided at 2 p.m. April 6 and Mounties seized all money, cannabis flower and cannabis extracts on site. Campbell River Trees branch manager Ben Hinton was detained and released without charge later in the afternoon.
“We were a bit surprised with the rapidity with which the RCMP obtained a search warrant,” said Trees Dispensary spokesperson Alex Robb. “It was a bit fast.”
Campbell River RCMP said the search warrant stemmed from a report of alleged illegal cannabis sales at a shop in Campbell River. Drugs believed to be marijuana, as well as cash and equipment were seized from the location during the execution of the search warrant.
“Campbell River RCMP is continuing their investigation under the Controlled Drug and Substances Act (CDSA). At this time no charges have been laid. A thorough assessment of evidence will be completed and reported to Federal Crown Counsel for consideration of any charges,” said Const. Sara Clark. “Campbell River RCMP would like to remind businesses and/or individuals operating in contravention of the CDSA and Health Canada regulations that they may be subject to investigation and criminal charges in accordance with Canadian laws.
“At this time the investigation remains ongoing and we will not be providing further comment.”
The dispensary is one of two that opened last week in Campbell River. WeeMedical opened its doors last Friday in a storefront on 13th Avenue.
Campbell River is the newest frontier in medical marijuana dispensaries in British Columbia. Both Trees and WeeMedical have been expanding on Vancouver Island in anticipation of changing legislation on the sale of medical marijuana products. Dispensaries are positioning themselves in markets in anticipation of new federal laws.
Robb said they got wind of WeeMedical’s imminent opening in Campbell River and entered the market as well. Medical marijuana products can be obtained by patients with a prescription from a doctor or some other official documentation from a health professional indicating they are being treated for a condition for which marijuana is believed to be able to help (such as cancer, epilepsy or glaucoma), Robb said.
Clients become members of a society which is allegedly able to dispense marijuana products for medical purposes. Both WeeMedical and Trees have members who obtain their products in outlets in other communities, like Nanaimo. They both noted that customers were coming from Campbell River and other North Island communities and decided to open outlets here to serve those communities.
In the raid on Trees’ location on 14th Avenue in Campbellton, police confiscated everything but edible products. Trees spokesperson Alex Robb believes this is significant.
“Notably, the RCMP in Campbell River did not confiscate any of the edible marijuana products offered for sale at Trees Dispensary,” Robb said. “Remaining on the shelves after the police raid were THC-infused oatmeal cookies, brownies, and raspberry chocolate bars, and cannabidiol (CBD) infused caramels.”
Recent court decisions have called into question how illegal various products are, Robb said. The police’s actions indicate that they view cannabis flowers and cannabis extracts as illegal but Robb said the edible marijuana products were left behind and are still available from their dispensary which is still open.
On Dec. 1, the RCMP raided the Trees Dispensary branch in Nanaimo. Three employees were arrested and charged with possession with the intent to distribute. On April 5, one day before the Campbell River raid, Tousaw Law received confirmation that the charges on the three employees of the Nanaimo Trees location had been stayed, and the bail conditions were removed. The Crown may choose to pursue charges at a later date. The Nanaimo Trees Dispensary location has remained open since the raids.