Two BC cannabis stores have faced break-ins this week, causing significant damage to the stores and a loss of product.
The most recent store to report a burglary was UEM Cannabis in Langley, which first posted about the incident on their social media. The post, shared on Tuesday, January 9, says that in the early morning hours of that day, two vehicles, a truck and a car, arrived with six individuals who broke into the store.
The individuals reportedly did significant damage to the store itself to gain access, with the men quickly making off with products like vape pen batteries, cannabis beverages, and extracts.
UEM Cannabis is one of the busier cannabis stores in BC, selling a large volume of cannabis products from their location in the middle of BC’s Lower Mainland. UEM also has a location in Vancouver. An employee at the Langley store told StratCann on Wednesday, January 10, that they are still open for business.
Seed and Stone’s Chilliwack location was the second store to face a similar burglary. Seed and Stone operates five stores in BC.
Vikram Sachdeva, the Founder & CEO of Seed and Stone, confirms with StratCann that the burglary also occurred around 4:30 in the morning, similar to the previous burglary at UEM Cannabis. No employees were present at the store at the time.
Sachdeva says, like UEM, his store faced considerable damage from the burglars gaining entry to the store and then gaining access to glass display cases. He says the store is currently closed but is expected to open again in the coming days.
Retailers need to be very vigilant, he argues, as the industry has a “target on its back” with many assuming cannabis businesses are awash in cash.
“We face so many issues,” says Sachdeva. “Banking is hard to come by. Margins are slim. And when we face something like this, it can be easy to get discouraged. But we just keep pushing forward. It’s what we have to do.”
He says the community has already shown him a lot of support, with customers stopping by the store offering encouragement and his landlord being very cooperative.
“From a business point of view it puts another roadblock in front of us. But we are still here, still doing the work.”
Around a dozen stores have been the targets of sometimes violent robberies in the Calgary area in the last few months. Stores in Calgary have been previously targeted, as well. Several stores in Ontario were the victims of break-ins, and there were at least two incidents of arson in early 2023.
Featured image of Seed and Stone storefront in Chilliwack that was targeted by burglars.