VINCENT BALL/The Expositor A Brantford police officer puts yellow tape in front of the Cannabis Culture store on Friday. Police raided the store, which opened last Sunday, for the second time in less than a week.
Brantford police have shut down the Cannabis Culture store for the second time in less than a week.
Members of the police street crime unit executed a search warrant at the Colborne Street West business on Friday less than an hour after local media had visited the store to interview employees.
Police took at least two people into custody during the raid. Officers remained on scene for the better part of the day.
Prior to being taken into custody, Mat Ferguson, a spokesperson for the store, had provided a tour of the business to an Expositor reporter.
The store opened on Sunday. On Tuesday night, police shut down the store and charged the owner, a 35-year-old Stoney Creek man, with possession for the purpose of trafficking. It remained closed for most of Wednesday while police waited for a search warrant to enter the premises.
“They packed everything up and left sometime around 3 or 4 p.m. (on Wednesday),” Ferguson said. “They haven’t said how much they got which is a little bit odd because usually they like to announce that.
“It couldn’t have been very much.”
Ferguson and others re-opened the store after police left but had no marijuana product to sell. Instead, they gave away T-shirts, sold non-marijuana items and spoke to customers.
The store opened again on Thursday, serving people throughout the day. Business was steady, said Ferguson.
On Friday morning, he and others were at the store welcoming customers.
“People support us,” said Ferguson.
“People want to be able to get what they need from us. Otherwise we wouldn’t be here.”
He said that the store is a “recreational” dispensary and sells to anyone, including those who don’t have a medical licence to buy marijuana.
“People were coming in and pulling out their cards but we told them … it was unnecessary,” Ferguson said. “We sell to anyone 19 or older and we ask for ID.”
He said that the store also stocks products that are medicinal and don’t provide the consumer with the “high” associated with recreational use. There are some products that help deal with issues such as inflammation, insomnia and pain.
Ferguson said he understands that police are just doing their job.
“I have no problem with them doing their raids but I think they need to do it right,” he said.
Brantford police said they planned to provide a public update once the investigation is completed.
Before being taken into custody, Ferguson said that Cannabis Culture is “leading the way for others,”
He said that people are welcome to visit to learn more about its products.
The Cannabis Culture chain is a creation of Marc and Jodie Emery, two of Canada’s best known crusaders for the legalization of marijuana. Marc Emery was at the Brantford location on Wednesday.
About 20 Cannabis Culture stores have opened across Canada.
Emery has said his goal is to open 200 stores across the country this year.
Meanwhile, city officials are in the process of developing a report about what steps, if any, can be taken to regulate marijuana dispensaries. The report is due to come before city councillors for discussion in March or April.
The federal government has promised to introduce legislation this spring to legalize recreational marijuana.
Original article can be found here