Seven cannabis dispensaries across Vancouver Island had their products seized last week and taken into the possession of the provincial government, prompting the question, what happens to that product?
Enforcement began on July 31 at the Trees Island Grown dispensary on Alpha Street in Victoria when the Community Safety Unit (CSU), a branch developed for enforcing new cannabis laws under the Ministry of Public Safety and Solicitor General, entered the store and took possession of all products in sight.
The following day the CSU also went to Trees’ 546 Yates Street location, which pushed the company to close the remaining five shops. Products were seized from all of these locations.
These included dried buds, oils, extracts and cannabis-infused products, none of which were approved by Health Canada regulations.
“Illegal retailers that do not obtain a provincial licence will have to close—and as more legal retail stores open across the province, you can expect to see increasing enforcement action by the CSU,” said Caroline McAndrews, communications director for the Ministry of Public Safety and the Solicitor General, in an email.
“Our goal from the start has been voluntary compliance, and those operating illegally should be warned that they could receive a visit from CSU officers in the very near future, as operations continue to roll out.”
While Trees CEO Alex Robb didn’t disclose the value of the taken products, he noted it was significant, and that he’s now waiting for an invoice for a fee.
“They’ll be cataloguing the products they’ve seized, send us a receipt, then they have a year to determine a fee,” Robb said. “I sincerely doubt anything is coming back.”
The CSU will now process the items, and have the option of destroying them afterwards.
“The CSU cannot disclose details of how the cannabis is processed or stored; however, the director has the authority to immediately destroy cannabis seized under the director’s regulatory authority,” McAndrews said.
“If cannabis was seized pursuant to a warrant, an order for disposition from the courts will be obtained prior to destruction.”
People and businesses who have had products seized may apply for the return of their products, or alternatively compensation for the products if they were destroyed, within 30 days of seizure.
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