Licensing hiccup closes cannabis shop

Licensing hiccup closes cannabis shop

Canna Cabana was forced to close earlier this week after the province's Community Safety Unit conducted an investigation into proper licensing. (Photo by Lyonel Doherty)

By Lyonel Doherty

A cannabis retail store south of Oliver was the subject of enforcement action this week, resulting in its closure.

Canna Cabana was forced to close earlier this week after an investigation by the province’s Community Safety Unit (CSU), an agency responsible for enforcing the Cannabis Control and Licensing Act.

“Without a retail (provincial) licence, the sale of non-medical cannabis at this location is an illegal activity,” said Colin Hynes, media relations officer for the Ministry of Public Safety and Solicitor General.

Hynes confirmed that CSU officers were active in Oliver this week, but would not give details.

Oliver RCMP were also on scene.

Sergeant Blaine Gervais said their role was merely to keep the peace while the CSU performed its duties.

The Chronicle contacted Canna Cabana and spoke to a man who only identified himself as a volunteer at the store. He would not give his name.

He initially said the store closed because it didn’t want to infringe on any new licensed cannabis businesses in town. (There are currently two that recently opened.)

The volunteer explained that Canna Cabana is in the process of relocating downtown on Main Street (across from Subway). He noted they will have new licensing in place once the relocation is complete.

Canna Cabana has been in operation for over a year in its location south of town.

Hynes said the CSU has undertaken enforcement action against unlicensed retailers in several communities across B.C.

“In all cases, significant amounts of cannabis in a variety of forms (dried, edibles, concentrates, extracts, oils, etc.) have been seized.”

To date, CSU officers have visited more than 191 unlicensed retailers for the purposes of education and to raise awareness about cannabis laws, penalties and consequences for violating federal and provincial regulatory regimes.

“Our goal from the start has been voluntary compliance, however, those who continue to operate illegally should be warned that if they do not obtain a provincial licence they will have to close or will face increased enforcement action from the CSU,” Hynes said.