Winnipeg police raid illicit online dispensary, seize product, arrest one

| David Brown

Winnipeg Police Services announced Friday that an enforcement action against an online dispensary, the Dr Kush Company, was executed in concert with the Public Safety Investigation Unit from Manitoba Justice. 

The raid, which was the result of an investigation started earlier in the year, resulted in one arrest and the seizure of $192,350 in pre-packed cannabis, $15,760 in vaping oil, $14,400 in prepackaged shatter, $8,000 in computers and tablets used to facilitate online orders and deliveries, and 10,000 units of custom packaging material. Two suspects remain outstanding.

According to police, the company had contracted drivers to deliver their cannabis products across Winnipeg. Drivers then allegedly used insulated bags labelled to look like local restaurant delivery services.

The police report notes the products were seized from a building and warehouse in the Sargent Park neighbourhood of Winnipeg. Authorities confirmed with both Health Canada and the Manitoba Liquor and Gaming and Cannabis Authority that the operation was not a licenced cannabis business under federal or provincial laws. 

The website for Dr Kush is still active and available online, but no longer lists products, only noting that products are “out of stock”. The website claims the products they sell are “grown under A.C.M.P.R license and gifted to us to share with you”. 

Image via Instagram

While the Access to Cannabis for Medical Purposes Regulations allow for both personal and designated cannabis cultivation for authorized medical patients, reselling product to others is disallowed. Nonetheless, numerous retailers, both online and in brick and mortar stores have long claimed that having either an ACMPR or an MMAR licence allows them to operate commercially. 

The company’s website also claims all their profits go ‘towards the community’ and to fund a future retail store. 

“The Dr. Kush Company shares all of its products with its supporters, all monies received are considered contributions that in turn go towards initiatives that better the community and will eventually help finance The Dr.Kush Company retail location.”

In a press event, police noted that they were unaware of how long the business had been operating, but they began looking into the business in February. Police noted the operation was “very well organized”, including professional packaging equipment and a complex delivery system across the city. The spokesperson also stated that the packaging facility had ‘rat feces’ found in the packaging area.

Cannabis was not produced at the facility, but the processed cannabis products like vape pens, shatter, etc, were made in the warehouse. Police said they had no idea where they were getting their harvested raw cannabis product from.

Calling the operation “very sophisticated” a police spokesperson said he had not seen “this level of organization and professionalism” in any other drug related investigation.

The website’s ‘about’ page says they are a ‘co-op’ of “ACMPR license holders licensed to operate in BC, Saskatchewan and Manitoba and claims their products come from “qualified legal growers”.

“The Dr. Kush Company is a registered business operating as a courier service for cannabis products in the province of British Columbia, Saskatchewan and Manitoba. We were established in 2014 by a co-op of ACMPR license holders in anticipation for recreational cannabis legalization. We source all our products from qualified legal growers throughout the provinces. We have a team of cannabis savants that hand select all strains and test them for quality assurance, THC content and molecular make-up.  As part of our overall business strategy, we set aside a proceed of monies every month to donate to select charities that combat: Addiction, Mental Health and Abuse of Vulnerable Peoples/Animals. Our company is one established “for the people” where profits don’t dictate our success, but our success is dictated on the positive change we bring to the community we serve.”