NLC working on marijuana resupply, vows to keep shutting down unlicensed retailers
Charges, fines being considered after Water Street Cannabis Care raid
The Newfoundland and Labrador Liquor Corporation will continue to shut down illegally operated marijuana retailers, the provincial Crown corporation warned Friday, a day after a St. John's operation was raided.
Sean Ryan, the NLC's vice-president of regulatory services and social responsibility. issued the warning on Friday, standing in front of tables piled with items seized from Water Street Cannabis Care, including cannabis flower, pre-rolls, edibles, concentrates as well as cash, laptop computers and various documents.
Ryan said multiple warnings were issued in the weeks leading up to legalization day.
"On the day of legalization the inspectors also visited all of the illegal dispensaries with the view to say, 'Look, today is legalization day and you're not legal. Do the right thing and close down, otherwise we'll come back,'" he said.
Ryan said the product seized now falls under contraband, according to the new cannabis act, making the products illegal to distribute. The NLC is considering charges or fines, and the product will eventually be destroyed..
This was all seized from Water Street Cannabis Care, a dispensary that had been operating for several months in downtown St. John’s, and is not a licensed cannabis retailer. <a href="https://t.co/uHEjkDPgsp">pic.twitter.com/uHEjkDPgsp</a>—@zachgoudie
For anyone worried about their documented transaction history with Water Street Cannabis Care, Ryan said anyone who made a purchase at the store will not be prosecuted, and sales histories will remain private.
"I would suggest that those that are operating, take note, because when you look at the amount of product here and the amount of money that product covers, somebody is out a great deal of money right now."
Shortages across the country
Even as NLC officials and RNC officers were in the store, customers kept coming by, with the licenced shops selling out.
Ryan said the early marijuana shortages seen in the province are happening across Canada.
"I can only tell you that we're working diligently with the suppliers that we have, with a view to, whatever product is available that we get it here to provide our consumers with a varied choice," he said.
"I was actually really sad when I got down here. I've been coming here since Day 1," said Andrew Porter, who frequented the store because he felt the business was secure and had the best customer service.
"They're supposed to be opening businesses in our city, not closing, even though I guess it wasn't [allowed]."
Porter added that even with legal retailers now being opened, he has found it difficult to find a store that hasn't already sold out.
With files from Zach Goudie and Peter Cowan