Police say they acted last Wednesday upon several complaints of the Leaf Compassion cannabis dispensary retail store in Chemainus operating without a license.
North Cowichan/Duncan RCMP detachment members raided the location for allegedly distributing cannabis without a licence. “When officers arrived at the business, they observed and seized suspected cannabis items packaged for sale,” noted Sgt. Janelle Shoihet, media relations officer for E Division Communication Services.
Two violation tickets were issued to employees for the unlawful sale of cannabis and the investigation is continuing.
Leaf Compassion owner Kyle Cheyne said Monday the Chemainus shop is now closed and he’s seeking to obtain a Liquor and Cannabis Regulation Branch license for the location.
“Our doors are closed permanently,” he confirmed. “Our doors will never open again unless we get a provincial license.”
A sign on the door urged customers to support endeavours for a successful licensing process in the Municipality of North Cowichan by contacting council members.
North Cowichan has just come out with a series of guidelines when considering applications for retail marijuana stores. Applications must first be accepted for consideration by the LCRB.
The Leaf Compassion Chemainus outlet first opened three and a half years ago and was never issued a business license from North Cowichan.
It was raided once before in March of 2017 when product was confiscated and charges levied for marijuana possession and trafficking, along with Green Aura that was also operating in Chemainus at the time.
Ironically, Cheyne just appeared in court on those charges Tuesday in Duncan. He received an absolute discharge.
However, Cheyne said he was handed a $600 fine by an officer for allegedly selling cannabis, but intends to prove in the next couple of months that no cannabis was taken.
“I never ever in my life intended to break the law,” Cheyne said. “The law doesn’t work for everybody who’s sick.”
He said many people, including seniors, are helped by cannabidiol (CBD) products that don’t make them high. He includes himself among them for back problems.
During the first raid, some $30,000 in evidence was seized from Leaf Compassion.
This time, Cheyne said police executed a search warrant and confiscated products such as oils and bath bombs.
“They were all hemp-based products,” he pointed out. “None of it contained THC (Tetrahydrocannabinol). All contained CBD.
“When you go to a health food store and pick up, for example, “Manitoba harvest” hemp oil that anyone can buy, there are traces of CBD in that oil because the truth of the reality is almost every hemp plant has CBD in it,” Cheyne went on to explain. “Hemp hats. Clothing. All these if made with a high CBD hemp plant would come back from the lab with CBD. The government has made it very confusing by mashing the hemp regulations with the cannabis regulations.”
Colin Hynes, who works in media relations for the Ministry of Public Safety and Solicitor General in B.C., noted that “under provincial and federal legislation, CBD products fall within the definition of cannabis and can only be sold by authorized retailers.”
Cheyne confided he was pleased with the ruling in his previous case because the judge pointed out the current regulations that require places to close down to get a license make little sense and show the failure of the liberalizing of cannabis laws by the federal government for those in the public who require it immediately.
“Nobody got thrown in jail for this or put in a holding cell,” Cheyne emphasized. “Last time it was nine hours for me.”