Vancouver Island’s biggest cannabis dispensary chain is shutting up shop in Victoria, at least until it can get provincial licenses for its five locations.
Trees Cannabis made the announcement on its Facebook page late Thursday morning after a provincial Community Safety Unit attended its Yates Street store and seized all cannabis products.
The Community Safety Unit, under the Policing and Security Branch of the Ministry of Public Safety and Solicitor General, is responsible for compliance and enforcement under the Cannabis Control and Licensing.
The unit ” has the authority to enter premises where cannabis is being sold without a provincial retail store licence and take enforcement action, including making seizures of cannabis,” according to the province.
Trees CEO Alex Robb confirmed that no arrests have been made, no charges laid, and no fines given to staff and employees.
He expects the company will pay a fine equal to the retail value of the cannabis seized.
Ninety-two employees at its Victoria locations have been laid-off as a result of the enforcement, Robb said. He was hoping to
Robb says it is part of a larger crackdown on all unlicensed cannabis sales in Victoria now that there are several licensed operators in the city.
The ministry said it doesn’t comment on specific enforcement activities but did say that across the province, they are “increasing enforcement and education campaigns.”
The two Trees stores in Nanaimo remain open for now.
Robb hopes to have needed provincial and municipal approval to allow the five Victoria locations to reopen by late October or November.
Licenced retail locations in Victoria include Cloud Nine Collective on Fort Street, The Original Farm on Douglas Street, The Original Farm on Scott Street and Clarity Cannabis on Gorge Road East.