The Victoria Police Department assisted the Solicitor General’s Community Safety Unit in shutting down Trees Island Grown’s Alpha Street location Wednesday morning. (Nina Grossman/News Staff)

Unlicensed Vancouver Island cannabis dispensary to suspend operations

Trees Island Grown closes as province ramps up ‘education and enforcement’

A popular unlicensed cannabis retailer on Vancouver Island was shut down by the province Wednesday morning.

Trees Island Grown on Alpha Street has closed, and according to CEO Alex Robb, the rest of the stores will soon follow.

The Public Safety and Solicitor General’s Community Safety Unit (CSU)– in charge of reinforcing the province’s cannabis laws – recently ramped up “education and enforcement.”

The CSU wouldn’t comment on its role in shutting down the local retailer, but Robb said the province has clearly arrived at the enforcement stage.

“They’ve previously been in the education phase of their enforcement strategy, which was to notify stores about how to get licensed…they are now moving toward active enforcement,” Robb said. “I believe they targeted the Alpha Street store because I think that it’s probably the busiest unlicensed store in the province. This was them indicating to the wider province that if you’re operating unlicensed, you are now subject to enforcement.”

The Victoria Police Department was on scene to assist the CSU, but there were no arrests or charges laid. All cannabis products were confiscated.

READ ALSO: Victoria approves first legally operating cannabis dispensary

READ ALSO: City of Victoria denies cannabis lounge business licence

Robb said the other Trees locations – both in Victoria and Nanaimo – will remain open until Aug. 16.

“Because we don’t want to, in any way, jeopardize our ongoing license applications, we have made the decision today to suspend operations…” he said, adding that the two-week period is intended to give staff proper notice and allow customers the time they need to stock up, particularly on products not yet available in the licensed market.

“A number of our customers are medical customers that require access to cannabis for medical purposes and [use] products that are not currently available in the licensed stores,” Robb said. “And we do want to make sure that people are going to have access to and be able to stock up on these items, which may not be available for another year or two years.”

Robb said more than 150 employees will be impacted by the closures.

The company has been working to obtain a license for some time – Robb said they have been moving through the process of security screening and financial integrity screening with the province, and if approved, the application will be forwarded to the city for approval. He doesn’t anticipate licensing until October or November.

“We were planning to suspend operations, it was a surprise that this enforcement action happened today and now we’re changing our plans to suspend operations sooner,” he said. “We now have to be making sure we have a business to return to once we are licensed, and that means that unfortunately we’re no longer able to serve the communities that we have been.”

Trees Island Grown on Alpha Street was closed Wednesday morning. (Nina Grossman/News Staff)



nina.grossman@blackpress.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

All Carlton Cards stores closing in the coming weeks

Schurman Retail Group stores across North America will close, including 79 in Canada

Comox Valley wheelchair sports all about inclusion

By Jamie Bowman Special to The Record When occupational therapist Carolyn Harmatiuk… Continue reading

Comox Valley Community Foundation hands out record amount of grant money

The Comox Community Centre the foundation handed out $330,000 to local organizations Tuesday.

Comox Valley school district planning Climate Action Conference for students

The voices of Comox Valley youth on the topic of climate change… Continue reading

Funder for Down Under in Courtenay raises thousands for Australia

Organizers still tallying up proceeds but expect to donate at least $8,000

Four things ‘not’ to do if you run into Prince Harry and Meghan in B.C.

Here is a list of some things you definitely should NOT do, according to the BBC

B.C. RCMP spent roughly $750K on massive manhunt for Port Alberni men

Manitoba RCMP helped with 17-day search through the province’s northern terrain

Future space homes could be made of mushrooms

NASA explores use of fungi to build structures in space

Rainfall warning issued for east Vancouver Island

Warning issued for area from Nanoose Bay to Campbell River

Island Bakery in Cobble Hill to close

Cobble Hill store in business since 1982

Man killed by police in Lytton called 911, asking to be shot: RCMP

Howard Schantz, also known as Barry Schantz was killed following a standoff at his Lytton home

Canadian public health agencies ramping up preparations in response to new virus

Health officials have said there are no confirmed cases of the emerging coronavirus in Canada

Most Read