Pubdate: Fri, 08 Apr 2016
Source: Campbell River Mirror (CN BC)
Copyright: 2016 Campbell River Mirror
Author: Alistair Taylor


Police raided a cannabis dispensary on Wednesday, one of two that 
opened in Campbell River only last week.

Trees Dispensary on 14th Avenue was raided at 2 p.m. April 6 and 
Mounties seized all money, cannabis flower and cannabis extracts on 
site. Campbell River Trees branch manager Ben Hinton was detained and 
released without charge later in the afternoon.

"We were a bit surprised with the rapidity with which the RCMP 
obtained a search warrant," said Trees Dispensary spokesperson Alex 
Robb. "It was a bit fast."

Campbell River RCMP said the search warrant stemmed from a report of 
alleged illegal cannabis sales at a shop in Campbell River. Drugs 
believed to be marijuana, as well as cash and equipment were seized 
from the location during the execution of the search warrant.

"Campbell River RCMP is continuing their investigation under the 
Controlled Drug and Substances Act (CDSA). At this time no charges 
have been laid. A thorough assessment of evidence will be completed 
and reported to Federal Crown Counsel for consideration of any 
charges," said Const. Sara Clark. "Campbell River RCMP would like to 
remind businesses and/or individuals operating in contravention of 
the CDSA and Health Canada regulations that they may be subject to 
investigation and criminal charges in accordance with Canadian laws.

"At this time the investigation remains ongoing and we will not be 
providing further comment."

The dispensary is one of two that opened last week in Campbell River. 
WeeMedical opened its doorslast Friday in a storefront on 13th Avenue.

Campbell River is the newest frontier in medical marijuana 
dispensaries in British Columbia. Both Trees and WeeMedical have been 
expanding on Vancouver Island in anticipation of changing legislation 
on the sale of medical marijuana products. Dispensaries are 
positioning themselves in markets in anticipation of new federal laws.

Robb said they got wind of WeeMedical's imminent opening in Campbell 
River and entered the market as well. Medical marijuana products can 
be obtained by patients with a prescription from a doctor or some 
other official documentation from a health professional indicating 
they are being treated for a condition for which marijuana is 
believed to be able to help (such as cancer, epilepsy or glaucoma), Robb said.

Clients become members of a society which is allegedly able to 
dispense marijuana products for medical purposes. Both WeeMedical and 
Trees have members who obtain their products in outlets in other 
communities, like Nanaimo. They both noted that customers were coming 
from Campbell River and other North Island communities and decided to 
open outlets here to serve those communities.

In the raid on Trees' location on 14th Avenue in Campbellton, police 
confiscated everything but edible products. Trees spokesperson Alex 
Robb believes this is significant.

"Notably, the RCMP in Campbell River did not confiscate any of the 
edible marijuana products offered for sale at Trees Dispensary," Robb 
said. "Remaining on the shelves after the police raid were 
THC-infused oatmeal cookies, brownies, and raspberry chocolate bars, 
and cannabidiol (CBD) infused caramels."

Recent court decisions have called into question how illegal various 
products are, Robb said. The police's actions indicate that they view 
cannabis flowers and cannabis extracts as illegal but Robb said the 
edible marijuana products were left behind and are still available 
from their dispensary which is still open.

On Dec. 1, the RCMP raided the Trees Dispensary branch in Nanaimo. 
Three employees were arrested and charged with possession with the 
intent to distribute. On April 5, one day before the Campbell River 
raid, Tousaw Law received confirmation that the charges on the three 
employees of the Nanaimo Trees location had been stayed, and the bail 
conditions were removed. The Crown may choose to pursue charges at a 
later date. The Nanaimo Trees Dispensary location has remained open 
since the raids.
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MAP posted-by: Jay Bergstrom