On June 2, 2021, RCMP in Nova Scotia executed search warrants at three unlicensed cannabis dispensaries on the Millbrook First Nation.
Police say the operation by the Colchester District RCMP Street Crime Enforcement Unit and the General Investigation Section, with support from Millbrook RCMP, Bible Hill RCMP, and Criminal Intelligence Service of Nova Scotia, was the result of the unlicensed cannabis storefronts continuing to operate and not voluntarily ceasing operations.
According to RCMP significant quantities of cannabis, cannabis products (including a large quantity of edibles) and cash were seized. Five people were arrested under the Cannabis Act and Excise Act and are facing charges that include Distribution of Cannabis, Possession for the Purpose of Distributing Cannabis, Unlawfully Selling Cannabis, Unauthorized Possession of Cannabis for the Purpose of Selling it, and Sale of Unstamped Cannabis Products.
The investigation is ongoing, and additional charges are pending.
Nova Scotia RCMP say they are continuing to employ a measured approach, which includes consultation with the stakeholders, to address the unlicensed sale of cannabis in the community. Increasing complaints, concerns about the products being sold, and the nearby public places usually frequented by young persons prompted the police action at these storefronts.
Dennis MacLeod, who operated a cannabis retail store in the area for the past eight months called Grams Smoke Shop, says he received a letter from the RCMP about a week ago instructing him to shut down or face up to $100,000 in fines. Following the raids on Wednesday, June 2, he says he shut down voluntarily.
MacLeod, a former bylaw enforcement officer with MillBrook Band Council, says RCMP even took one of the buildings that was being used as a cannabis dispensary, loading it on a flatbed truck. None of the three locations raided, the High Times Station, Buddha Barn, and a nearby convenience store were available for comment.
Cpl. Lisa Croteau, a Public Information Officer for the Nova Scotia RCMP confirms that a number of letter were sent out to operators of unlicensed cannabis storefronts on Millbrook First Nations on May 19, prior to the raids. Croteau also confirmed that there were buildings that were “removed for offence related property” as part of these raids..
“It is an ongoing investigation, and there has been ongoing complaints and concerns about the volume of cannabis sales and the potential sales to youths from the locations that we attended that day,” says Croteau.