'Suspicious fire' at marijuana dispensary being investigated

The store Chronic Releaf at 3700 Joseph Howe Dr. is reported to have been set on fire by an unknown suspect.

Police responded to the call at 12:23 a.m.

Police are investigating a suspicious fire at Chronic Releaf, a cannabis dispensary on Joseph Howe Drive. (Robert Short/CBC)

Police say a cannabis dispensary in the west end of Halifax was set on fire Wednesday night.

Police responded to a call at 12:23 a.m. reporting Chronic Releaf at 3700 Joseph Howe Dr. had been set on fire by a person who ran away afterwards, according to a Halifax Regional Police news release.

The suspect is described by police as being a tall man wearing a backpack and his face was covered.

Police say the fire is deemed suspicious. Emergency crews responded and the fire was extinguished.  

Police spokesperson Const. John MacLeod said in an email that police seized "a small amount of cannabis product' after going into the store. He said it is not expected that there will be charges in relation to the seizure at this time.

Traffic was blocked temporarily at Joseph Howe Drive and Dutch Village Road early Thursday morning. (Robert Short/CBC)

Police remained on scene throughout the night. Traffic was blocked temporarily at Joseph Howe Drive and Dutch Village Road.

The side window and front door of the store were broken. (Robert Short/CBC)

Police and a service dog searched the area, but were unable to find the man.

Cannabis shops have been targeted in robberies over the past number of months. This is the first report of a suspicious fire at a dispensary in the area.

Const. MacLeod said the recent robberies are still under investigation and police do not know if the suspects or their motives are related.

"Certainly drugs and cash, depending what it is in the dispensary, could be an easily marketable resource to someone who's looking to steal," he said.

He said it is too early in the investigation to know what the motives or reason for the fire were.

Cannabis shops have been targeted in robberies over the past number of months. (Robert Short/CBC)

Police are asking anyone with information about this incident to call police at 902-490-5020.  Anonymous tips can be sent to Crime Stoppers.

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