Edmonton police shut down illegal cannabis shop, urge businesses to stop rogue sales

Click to play video: 'Edmonton police allege store owner was illegally selling cannabis' Edmonton police allege store owner was illegally selling cannabis
WATCH ABOVE: For the first time since cannabis became legal, Edmonton police have charged a store owner for illegally selling it. Fletcher Kent reports – Mar 8, 2019

An Edmonton man is facing four charges after police allege he was selling illegal cannabis from a non-licensed store. Now they’re warning other Edmonton businesses that are doing the same to get rid of the products, or get a proper license.

On March 6, Edmonton police searched a business near 150 Street and 118 Avenue. Inside, they said they found illegal cannabis products, including seeds, oils, pills and creams. The total retail value is estimated at $12,000.

READ MORE: AGLC to issue another 10 retail cannabis licences

“Part of our focus with the legalization of cannabis is to ensure that it is being distributed legally,” Const. Dexx Williams, the EPS cannabis liaison, said in a release. “A regulated market is a safer market, and we are committed to following up on the many tips we receive regarding illegal practices.

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“Individuals who are illegally selling products containing cannabis should be aware that they may face significant penalties.”

In this case not only was the store allegedly selling cannabis without the proper license, but the products themselves were illegal.

“Had it been a retail store that had been licensed by the AGLC they still would have faced criminal charges for selling illegal cannabis,” Williams said.

READ MORE: City of Edmonton hands out more violation tickets for tobacco than cannabis

Nizarali Lakhani, 65, is facing one count each of unauthorized possession of cannabis and possession of cannabis for the purpose of selling, as well as two counts of unauthorized sale of cannabis.

According to Williams, charges can be laid against the owner of the venue, as well as the person selling illegal pot products at the time.

The owner of Kush Klatch Herbal Emporium told Global News he’s stressed by the charges.

He said police came into the store and he pointed out a rack where he was selling seeds and oils. Officers seized everything off that rack and he was later charged.

He told Global News he didn’t think he was doing anything wrong since cannabis is now legal.

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WATCH BELOW: Recent Global Edmonton cannabis coverage

Williams said police have received tips that people are selling cannabis at farmer’s markets, trade fairs and even drivers on different apps.

“So someone working a booth at a trade show that’s selling CBD creams, someone at a farmer’s market selling edibles, not only is the owner of that venue going to be charged, but anyone working that booth is also liable for charges.”

Charges carry a maximum prison sentence of 14 years.

“That is why when I say there are significant consequences at work here, it’s vital that the public understand the magnitude of the consequences.”

READ MORE: Alberta pot stores raise supply concerns amid AGLC plan to issue 10 new licences

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According to Williams, Edmonton police are receiving between three and five complaints a week from the public about people selling cannabis without a license. Since legalization, police had been working to educate people about selling and distributing marijuana products, but now they’re taking action.

“Whether it’s cannabis creams, oils, pills, whether you’re, for example a pet shop or a massage therapist or a vitamin store, there’s numerous business categories that are currently selling products that have cannabis in them and the owners and employees are currently at jeopardy at being charged for the sale and distribution of illegal cannabis,” Williams said.

“If you have products that contain cannabis, get the proper license or stop distributing and selling them.”

Williams couldn’t speculate the future of the store, but did say he believes it’s the first one that’s been shut down since cannabis was legalized in October.

Anyone with information is asked to call Edmonton police 780-423-4567 or #377 from a mobile phone. Anonymous information can also be submitted to Crime Stoppers.

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