Those involved with a Victoria members-only social club that allowed people a space to consume cannabis, say they hope to stay afloat after the facility on Blanshard Street was raided by the Community Safety Unit (CSU) on Wednesday.
The CSU — a policing and security branch of the Ministry of Public Safety and Solicitor General — confirmed their officers were active in Victoria this week, however they were unable to comment on any specific enforcement actions.
The members-only social club, 16:20, located across from the Save-On-Foods Memorial Centre, has approximately 150 active members with 1,000 people holding a membership. The club has no employees but is run by volunteers. According to a volunteer for 16:20, the social club is not a dispensary that sells cannabis but medicinal cannabis was seized during the raid.
A 16:20 membership gave people a space to consume cannabis, play chess, piano or book time to train in a boxing ring, located inside the club.
To date, CSU officers have visited more than 260 unlicensed retailers for the “purpose of education and to raise awareness about cannabis laws,” penalties and the consequences for violating regulations.
Last year Trees Island Grown, a popular unlicensed cannabis retailer, was raided by CSU and forced to shut down their eight locations. This month, the director of Trees was fined $1.5 million — marking the first known administrative penalty levied to an individual under the Cannabis Control and Licensing Act.
For now, the club will try to find a way to bring in revenue, which the volunteer said could come from the 16:20 podcast that operates in the same building.
— With files from Nina Grossman