The 642 Cannabis store in Sooke had its product seized and doors shuttered Monday after the province’s Community Safety Unit conducted an early morning raid.
The store was the only one of the four cannabis locations in Sooke that continued to operate without proper licensing.
The remaining two non-licensed stores, including High Tide dispensary in Otter Point, had voluntarily shut down at least two weeks ago, awaiting their license procedures to be completed, said police.
Reached for comment, the Community Safety Unit said “the Ministry (of Public Safety and the Solicitor General) is unable to comment on any complaints or any enforcement actions that the Community Safety Unit (CSU) will or will not undertake in response to specific cases or situations.”
But Colin Hynes, speaking on behalf of the ministry, confirmed the Community Safety Unit is actively following up with unlicensed (cannabis) retailers in communities across B.C.
“It’s been clear that illegal retailers that do not obtain a provincial licence will have to close or face increasing enforcement action from the CSU,” Hynes said.
“To ensure everyone’s safety, CSU officers will always identify themselves —displaying either photo identification or both a badge and photo identification. Police also have authority to enforce laws with respect to cannabis, including the authority to make seizures, issue violation tickets and investigate and recommend charges for offences under both provincial statutes and federal criminal law.”
Hynes said the province does not provide operational direction to police and police will set their own priorities based on the needs of the community.
In the case of the raid on 642 Cannabis, the RCMP confirmed that they had not initiated the raid, but were simply present in a supporting role at the request of the Community Safety Unit.
In July, Riverside Cannabis became the first legal cannabis operation in Sooke when it completed a licensing process that owner Lisa Taylor described as arduous.
Neither Callum Wake and Vince Collard, the owners of the operation, were available for comment.
The raid comes on the heels of similar raids on unlicensed pot stores across the Greater Victoria area over the past two months.