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

Comments are closed

Just Posted

Town of Ladysmith receives $3.3 million grant for Arts & Heritage Hub

The funds will go to creating artist studios around the Machine Shop and maintaining heritage assets

Extension given for Cowichan region homeless tenting sites

Meeting with BC Housing to determine the next step

B.C. Supreme Court dismisses claim against Island Corridor Foundation

Snaw-Naw-As (Nanoose) First Nation was seeking return of reserve land as railway sits unused

What’s in a name? Ladysmith’s historical streets re-examined

Several streets in downtown Ladysmith are named after generals that served in the Boer War

Archie’s lets the good times roll

Blast from the past at new diner in the Chemainus Public Market

B.C. records 31 new cases, six deaths over three days due to COVID-19

There are 166 active cases in B.C., 16 people in hospital

Facing changes together: Your community, your journalists

We’re asking you to lock arms with us, as we look to better days ahead

Langford teens reunited with family after rescue near Chemainus

Friends spent night in missing truck, spotted by RCMP helicopter

B.C. homeowners plead for action on condo insurance crisis

Strata property fees growing bigger than mortgage payments

Indigenous man behind complaint of BC Transplant’s alcohol abstinence policy has died

David Dennis, who is Nuu-chah-nulth, argued that six-month sobriety policy is a ‘lethal form of racism’

ICBC to resume road tests in July with priority for rebookings, health-care workers

Tests have been on hold for four months due to COVID-19

Restaurant to be converted into housing for people experiencing homelessness

BC Housing buys popular Campbell River eatery for $985,000 to serve as bridge housing

Urge travellers to follow COVID-19 rules in a ‘gentle way’: B.C.’s top doctor

Cases surging in the U.S. have B.C. officials hoping the border stays shut all summer

96-year-old woman scales B.C. butte with help of family, friends

‘I did as I was told and I enjoyed every minute of it’

Most Read