OPP raid 3 “sovereign” cannabis stores in Niagara region

| Morton Robertson

Ontario Provincial Police raided three unlicensed cannabis stores on March 7 in Thorold, Welland, and Fort Erie.

OPP say they seized illicit cannabis and contraband tobacco products with a potential street value of more than $230,000, resulting in the closure of three storefronts. Three were arrested. 

Police say they seized:

  • 91.5 kilograms of dried cannabis
  • 695 pre-rolled cannabis cigarettes
  • 720 grams of cannabis extract
  • 2,065 packages of cannabis edibles
  • 915 tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) vape pens
  • two kilograms of hashish
  • 173,800 tobacco cigarettes
  • 420 tobacco cigars
  • $4,700 in cash and cellphones, computers and other electronics.

The three stores were reportedly all branded as “Indige Smoke”, and a representative for one Indige Smoke location who answered the phone confirmed that three of their stores had been raided on March 7. The representative declined to provide their name but said the company is speaking with legal counsel and plans to fight the raids.

A post on Indigie Smoke’s Instagram page says: “In light of recent events that everyone is aware of by now, we will continue to exercise our rights. We appreciate all the kind messages and we appreciate you all!”

The company also notes the Fort Erie Store had just opened on March 1.

While some Indigenous and First Nations activists have argued that they can operate cannabis businesses without provincial or federal oversight, the provincial and federal governments have disagreed.