Police raided the Leaf Compassion dispensary in Chemainus Wednesday and owner Kyle Cheyne said Monday it won’t reopen until he can obtain a Liquor and Cannabis Regulation Board license for the location.
“Our doors are closed permanently,” he confirmed. “Our doors will never open again unless we get a provincial license.”
A sign on the door urged customers to support endeavours for a successful licensing process in the Municipality of North Cowichan by contacting council members.
North Cowichan has just come out with a series of guidelines when considering applications for retail marijuana stores. Applications must first be accepted for consideration by the LCRB.
The Leaf Compassion Chemainus outlet first opened three and a half years ago and has been operating without a business license from North Cowichan.
It was raided once before in March of 2017 when product was confiscated and charges levied for marijuana possession and trafficking, along with Green Aura that was also operating in Chemainus at the time.
Ironically, Cheyne is appearing in court on those charges Tuesday in Duncan.
“I hope we get an absolute discharge, then my application will fully be going through,” he said.
“I never ever in my life intended to break the law. The law doesn’t work for everybody who’s sick.”
Cheyne said many people, including seniors, are helped by cannabidiol (CBD) products that don’t make them high. He includes himself among them for back problems.
During the first raid, some $30,000 in evidence was seized from Leaf Compassion.
This time, Cheyne said police executed a search warrant and were looking for cannabis-based items but didn’t find any. They confiscated only CBD products such as oils and bath bombs. Under provincial and federal legislation, CBD products fall within the definition of cannabis and can only be sold by authorized retailers.
Cheyne indicated fines were levied against two of his managers.
“I haven’t got any,” he said, although he thought a fine might still be levied against him.
“Nobody got thrown in jail for this or put in a holding cell,” Cheyne added. “Last time it was nine hours for me.”
Inquiries about the raid to RCMP were not answered.