The provincial Community Safety Unit (CSU), accompanied by VicPD officers, raided the Victoria Cannabis Buyers Club (VCBC) on Wednesday morning.
The CSU is responsible for the enforcement of the provincial Cannabis Control and Licensing Act.
Administrators for the Victoria Cannabis Buyers Club Facebook page streamed a live video of the raid shortly after it began around 10:30 a.m.
Officers could be seen inside the club packing items, which the VCBC said included medicinal cannabis, into several garbage bags.
In another post to the Facebook page, the VCBC said they would be holding a rally at the BC Legislature at noon to protest “ongoing injustices against medical cannabis patients.”
The business was also raided last November by the same authority.
Ted Smith, founder of VCBC, says the raid has left his customers distraught and feeling threatened.
“It’s really sad how much suffering is immediately being caused by these government actions,” Smith said in a phone call with Victoria Buzz. “Government that claims to be trying to help.”
He says that the VCBC has broad support in the community, including from Victoria City Council.
Following the CSU’s raid in November, Mayor Lisa Helps wrote a letter on behalf of Council to Premier John Horgan expressing support for VCBC and seeking a licensing exemption.
Smith says he expects his confiscated supply to be replenished quickly and intends to reopen the storefront by 4:20 p.m. on Thursday.
“The war on drugs has been a bitter failure,” said Smith. “This is all about the money.”
The VCBC is expected to mark 25 years in operation in January 2021.
In an emailed statement, CSU said they could not comment on specific cases but added that non-medical cannabis retailers are required to obtain provincial licenses.
“Private cannabis stores operating without provincial authorization are illegal,” a spokesperson for CSU stated. “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.”