Calgary police are searching for two people and have charged a third after discovering illegal online cannabis businesses allegedly operating out of a downtown apartment building.
According to police, the operation was discovered in late August when officers responded to a break and enter at an apartment in the building in the 1200 block of 17 Avenue Southwest.
The residents who lived in the apartment were “nowhere to be found” when officers arrived, a news release stated.
“Approximately $163,000 worth of cannabis products were seized,” the Calgary Police Service (CPS) explained. “Including dried cannabis in different strains (3,571 grams), pre-rolled joints, several types of edibles, oils and cannabis-infused creams.”
Police are seeking two people on warrants for the possession of cannabis for the purpose of selling: 34-year-old Chrissy Jennifer Jahntz and 40-year-old Craig Graydon Douglas Bushell.
Jahntz is described as being five foot six inches tall and 100 pounds with blond hair and blue eyes.
Bushell is described as five foot ten inches tall and 165 pounds and bald with hazel eyes.
Police believe both Jahntz and Bushell have fled to Nova Scotia.
The two illegal companies operating out of the apartment were allegedly called Holdenherb and Graydon Green Compassion Club, police said.
In addition, police have charged the property manager of the apartment building, 29-year-old Scott Raymond Tulk, who they allege was complicit in the operation of the illegal businesses.
“Illicit operations such as this pose a significant danger to the neighbours, especially in an apartment,” Det. Chris Pollock said. “The process used to extract concentrates has a high potential for causing explosions. Operations that include grows also have added fire and mould risks.”
Police said the cannabis products were sent away for testing and results indicated the product contained high and toxic levels of metal.
“The only legal way to purchase cannabis online in Alberta is through the AGLC website, AlbertaCanabis.org,” Pollock added.
“If you are purchasing from other sites, you are enabling this kind of dangerous activity right in your own neighbourhood.”
ALGC spokesperson Dave Berry said that the government option is the safer option. “By providing legal, regulated cannabis products, AGLC offers Albertans product choices from federally licensed producers that are regulated by Health Canada, where the ingredients have been lab-tested and are known to exclude substances that been identified as unsafe,” Berry said.
According to police, illegal online sales are increasingly becoming an issue in the city.
At Beltline Cannabis, an independent dispensary that opened in 2018, the cost of legal cannabis is still expensive compared to illegal sources, which is having an impact on customers.
But store owner and founder Karen Barry said the extra cost comes with more accountability for the product.
“The big differential between the grey market and the legal market is you know where your product is coming from — it’s going through the right channels,” Barry said. “We are a believer in seed-to-store accountability, and that’s what legalization provides.”
Anyone with information about the whereabouts of Jahntz and Bushell is asked to call the Calgary police non-emergency number 403-266-1234. Tips can also be left anonymously through Crime Stoppers.
— With files from Adam MacVicar