Police Carry Out Dispensary Raids Across Ottawa

At least six Ottawa dispensaries have been raided police Friday morning, in a targeted operation across the city.

Three Green Tree dispensary locations, two WeeMedical dispensaries and one CannaGreen dispensary were raided as Ottawa police took the latest step to shut down the city’s growing dispensary businesses. All three are British Columbia-based chains that have expanded nationally within the last year.

Arrests have been reported but, so far, police have made no statement on the raids.

Ottawa police have made moves in recent weeks signalling that raids, similar to those seen in other cities, would be coming to the nation’s capital, including letters sent out late last month to landlords of dispensaries.

Thirteen of the city’s dispensaries were sent letters warning property owners that they may see police action or have their space seized by the courts after referral to Ontario’s Civil Remedies for Illicit Activities Office.

The letter stated that if properties continue to “represent a threat to the health, safety and security of the community, the Ottawa Police Service will take action as authorized by the Criminal Code, the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act and any other provincial statutes available.”

The police letter told landlords they could contact police for “assistance with respect to strategies which may be employed by you to reduce/cease the unlawful activity associated with our property.”

Earlier this week a dispensary tenant, CannaGreen, was evicted by its landlord.

The Friday morning raids mark the first major action that local police have taken against dispensaries. Why these particular shops were targeted first is unknown, but Ottawa Chief of Police Charles Bordeleau had previously written that police were only interested in “legitimate complaints regarding a dispensary” from the public.

“The OPS has approached the Federal Crown Attorney’s Office and it has indicated a willingness to prosecute viable files that are presented to them,” Bordeleau wrote in a report presented to the Ottawa Police Services Board. “Each location is to be investigated separately and presented to them on their own merits as an individual file. This is a time-consuming process and requires a great deal of investigative effort if we are to present the best possible evidence to a court.”

According to his report, police prioritized each dispensary based on several factors, including community concerns and if investigators saw an increase in the number of public complaints for a dispensary, it would be taken into consideration.