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)

Popular unlicensed Victoria cannabis dispensary shut down by province

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 customer 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 92 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

VIDEO: Neighbours help Sidney woman mark 103rd birthday with surprise parade

Barbara Chorlton celebrates her ‘best birthday so far’

Racism is here too, say Victoria’s black community leaders

White Victorians have role to play in combatting systems of oppression, prejudice

Shortage of foreign workers costs Saanich Peninsula berry farmer thousands

Gobind Farms says hiring local has been difficult during pandemic

Pedestrian, cycling overpass now open at McKenzie Interchange

Bridge connects Portage Road, Galloping Goose Regional Trail

VIDEO: B.C. dentist gets grand welcome home after two months in hospital fighting COVID-19

Michael Chow was given a surprise send off by hospital staff and ‘welcome home’ from neighbours

‘Like finding a needle in a haystack’: Ancient arrowhead discovered near Williams Lake

The artifact is believed to be from the Nesikip period between 7,500 BP to 6,000 BP

Indigenous families say their loved ones’ deaths in custody are part of pattern

Nora Martin joins other Indigenous families in calling for a significant shift in policing

PHOTOS: Anti-racism protesters gather in communities across B.C.

More protests are expected through the weekend

Indigenous chief alleges RCMP beat him during arrest that began over expired licence plate

Athabasca Chipewyan Chief Allan Adam calling for independent investigation

‘I’m pissed, I’m outraged’: Federal minister calls out police violence against Indigenous people

Indigenous Minister Marc Miller spoke on recent incidents, including fatal shooting of a B.C. woman

UPDATED: Pair accused of ‘horrific’ assault at Vancouver’s Oppenheimer Park arrested

Police say Jason Tapp, 30, and Nicole Edwards, 33, did not show up to meet their bail supervisor this week

POLL: Are you sending your children back to school this month?

Classrooms looked decidedly different when students headed back to school for the… Continue reading

Most Read