Edmonton

Edmonton police seizing and shutting down illegal cannabis websites

In an attempt to curb the number of black market cannabis shipments coming into Edmonton, city police have begun seizing the web addresses of companies illegally selling cannabis online. 

Investigators targeting more than 100 web addresses

The illegal websites would often feature misleading statements that suggested to would-be buyers that the sites were legal, police say. (Juan Mabromata/AFP/Getty Images)

In an attempt to curb the number of black market cannabis shipments coming into Edmonton, city police have begun seizing the web addresses of companies illegally selling cannabis online. 

Police say many of the illegal cannabis shipments seized by investigators last year were traced back to websites distributing recreational cannabis products in contravention of the federal Cannabis Act.

"These illegal websites would often feature misleading statements that suggested to would-be buyers that the site is legal," Const. Dexx Williams,  EPS cannabis compliance officer said in a statement.

"We have also seen instances of youth who were in possession of cannabis that was identified as being from some of these illicit sites."

Starting this week, investigators began seizing more than 100 of the offending web addresses, effectively shutting the sites down, police said in a statement Thursday. 

In Alberta, albertacannabis.org, a website run by the Alberta Gaming, Liquor & Cannabis website is the only legal online retailer of recreational cannabis in the province.

Police have launched an online advertising campaign to help educate the public about illegal websites. Investigators continue to search for any customers of the illegal sites. 

"As part of this investigation, we are identifying individuals who may have ordered from or communicated with these sites, and may have additional evidence related to their activities and the individuals running them," Williams said.

 "This is a unique investigative approach for police, and we believe this will strengthen our evidence against the individuals involved while also directing citizens to legal avenues to purchase their cannabis."

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