There's a new sheriff in town when it comes to cannabis.
Well, not new exactly. But, the Community Safety Unit, responsible for enforcing cannabis regulations, has ramped up activities across B.C. recently. The CSU cracked down on the Cannabis Buyer's Club in Victoria Thursday, seizing what they described as illegal cannabis products.
B.C. Public Affairs Officer Colin Hynes, tells Castanet: "As more licensed stores come on line, you can expect to see increased enforcement activity from the CSU. However, we’re unable to provide comment on what the CSU will or will not undertake in response to specific cases or situations."
"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."
Even though cannabis has been legalized, there are still plenty of unlicensed operations in B.C. Case in point, the west side of Okanagan Lake. There are multiple stores to purchase cannabis, including edibles, along what has come to be called the "green mile" on Okanagan Indian Band land.
These shops indicate they operate in a "grey zone" – but the CSU says there is no such thing.
"As with the provincial Liquor Control and Licensing Act, B.C.’s cannabis laws are laws of general application that apply across the province, including on reserve and treaty settlement lands," Hynes said via email.
"We envision the CSU will work with Indigenous communities in consideration of their local needs and interests when carrying-out compliance and enforcement activities."
CSU officers have visited approximately 200 unlicensed retailers since cannabis was legalized, mostly to raise awareness about cannabis laws, penalties and consequences for violating federal and provincial regulations. In all cases, significant amounts of cannabis in a variety of forms (dried, edibles, concentrates, extracts, and oils.) have been seized.