WATCH: Vancouver police raided a west side marijuana dispensary after a 15-year-old, who allegedly purchased a product there, got sick. As Catherine Urquhart reports, more raids are possible.
A marijuana store in Vancouver’s Kitsilano neighbourhood was raided by Vancouver police Wednesday.
It happened at the Weeds Glass and Gifts on W. 4th Ave. following an investigation that lasted more than a month.
“Public safety concerns were brought to the attention of police. Those concerns included an incident where a 15-year-old was hospitalized after allegedly purchasing edible products from the store, as well as other events involving young people,” they said in a statement.
Customers and staff in the store at the time of the search were identified and released pending further investigation, police said.
The VPD has obtained nine search warrants against marijuana dispensaries operating in the city in the last 18 months. They say a particular attention is paid to those which target youth, or if there are public safety concerns.
READ MORE: Health Minister says marijuana shops in Vancouver should be closed
“Police will take action again if there are public safety concerns, particularly if they involve youth,” the statement said.
Don Briere, the owner of 10 Weeds Glass and Gifts locations across Vancouver, said he only learned of the raid Wednesday and had no prior knowledge of the police investigation.
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“I hope (the allegations) are not true, but if they are, obviously the person will face charges as well as be fired,” he said. “And if it’s a customer who purchased it and gave it to somebody, then they should be charged.”
Briere said one staff member was detained but released without charges, and all of the store’s marijuana products were seized.
Briere, considered a colourful character in the city’s marijuana community, said he was imprisoned in the late 1990s for running a network of grow-ops and was sent back to prison after he opened a pot shop while on parole in 2004.
He said the city’s proposal to regulate pot businesses will ease access for medical marijuana patients, create jobs and take money out of the hands of organized crime.
Briere added he doesn’t consider Wednesday’s raid a “crackdown.”
“I don’t think they’re cracking down. I think what they’re doing is taking care of business the way they should be,” he said. “If that in fact did happen, then they did the right thing. I support the police 100 per cent.”
Earlier in the week Vancouver city council decided to hold public hearings on the issue of regulating marijuana shops, and Health Minister Rona Ambrose and Public Safety Minister Steven Blaney sent a letter to city council and the Vancouver Police Department on Tuesday warning that storefronts selling the marijuana are illegal and urging them to uphold the law.
– With files from The Canadian Press