British Columbia

Weeds Glass and Gifts pot store raided by Vancouver police

Vancouver police have executed search warrants at the Weeds Glass and Gifts marijuana store at 2916 West 4th Ave. following a month-long investigation.

Police raid marijuana store on city's west side after 15 year old who purchased edible products hospitalized

Vancouver police execute search warrants at the Weed Glass and Gifts shop in Kitsilano as the final step in a month-long investigation. (Stephanie Mercier/CBC)

Vancouver police have executed search warrants at the Weeds Glass and Gifts marijuana store at 2916 West 4th Avenue following a month-long investigation.

Police say they started looking into the shop following a number of "events involving young people" including one connected to a 15-year-old teen who was hospitalized after allegedly purchasing edible products from the store.

In Wednesday's raid, police say they entered the store, searched it for additional evidence and arrested staff who were later released. The store's customers were also identified during the raid, but then released pending investigation. 

The store is owned by Don Briere, one of the province's largest growers of B.C. bud in the 1990s. He says the police took all of his marijuana inventory. 

Pot activists staged a mini-protest outside the shop right after the police raid. (Stephanie Mercier/CBC)

"The police are doing their job — that's what they're paid to do," Briere told CBC News. 

"If it was an illegally purchased cookie or if somebody did the wrong thing, they should be charged. But there were no charges ... and we're going to restock the store and open."

Still, Briere says he would like to get to the bottom of how the teen got sick. 

"If one of my staff sold a cookie to somebody [to a 15-year-old], then he should be charged."

This isn't the first time one of Briere's stores has been raided. Da Kine cafe on Commercial Drive openly sold marijuana in the early 2000s and police made a large bust at the store in 2004. 

"Our priority remains focusing on violent drug traffickers and those who prey on youth and the marginalized in our community," the police said in a statement. 

"However, these shops are all illegal and the VPD will continue to respond to concerns and take incremental steps to decide if further investigation or enforcement action is required."

Pot dispensaries facing regulation

The raid comes at the same time the city announced it wants to bring in regulation over Vancouver's more than 80 pot dispensaries.

CBC reported on Tuesday that marijuana operators are well aware their prior police involvement could come back to haunt them as they face background checks.

Police say they have obtained nine search warrants for medical marijuana dispensaries in the past 18 months.

Last year Vancouver police raided Jim's Weeds Lounge, a medical marijuana shop, saying they had received reports marijuana was being bought at the store and sold to youth in the surrounding neighbourhood.

"Police will take action again if there are public safety concerns, particularly if they involve youth," the statement said.

With files from Paisley Woodward