OPP arrest two, shutdown suspected LaSalle pot shop
Published Friday, August 2, 2019 11:07AM EDT Last Updated Friday, August 2, 2019 6:04PM EDT
Two unnamed people have been arrested after police allege an illegal cannabis storefront was being operated in LaSalle.
On Thursday, Ontario Provincial Police and the LaSalle Police Service report using a search warrant at a storefront in the 1500-block of Front Road in the town at 12 p.m.
While police have not identified the store in question, CTV News has learned the name of the operation to be "5FIFTY5" and is located in a plaza shared by a vape store and a pool business.
Jason Haney operates the vape store, Apothic Vapes, next door to the alleged cannabis operation.
"I don't want people thinking that we've been shut down, it has nothing to do with us," said Haney. "I mean it smells interesting most days! But, they kind of kept to themselves so it hasn't bothered me."
Police report the two people arrested are charged with possession for the purpose of selling contrary to the Cannabis Act of Canada. The accused are due in court at a later date. Police have not identified the accused.
Provincial Police report quantities of cannabis and cannabis infused products were seized.
"It doesn't surprise me that little pop-up shops come up like this because the amount of traffic going in there is amazing," said Haney.
The OPP is leading an enforcement strategy across the province meant to eliminate the illegal cannabis supply, dismantle organized crime groups and remove illegal cannabis businesses.
"We're not trying to limit the supply of legal marijuana to people,” said Sr. Con. Terry Seguin of the LaSalle Police Service.
Seguin tells CTV News an enforcement strategy is being pursued by partnering agencies.
"The problem is that these dispensaries are obtaining their marijuana from illegal sources that supports organized crime," said Seguin.
OPP Constable Jim Root declined an interview request by CTV News.
Anyone with information regarding this or any other incident is asked to call the OPP at 1-888-310-1122.
Should you wish to remain anonymous, call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477 (TIPS) or leave an anonymous online message at www.catchcrooks.com where you may be eligible to receive a cash reward of up to $2,000.
Legal cannabis storefronts
The region has seen a number of alleged illegal cannabis dispensaries shut down by police.
In July 2018, an alleged illegal dispensary was busted in Essex. Police again closed the same place, Hemy Healthy Farmacy, in November 2018.
That same month, The Compassion House in Windsor was temporarily shut down by police for allegedly illegally selling cannabis — then again in March along with another suspected illegal cannabis dispensary in the city’s downtown by the name of Envy.
Another suspected illegal pot shop was shuttered on Ottawa Street in January.
There are currently only 25 brick and mortar retailers licensed to sell pot in Ontario. More are on the way as the province is set to hold a lottery for another 50 retail locations.
The growing number of legal retail cannabis locations won't reach LaSalle as council voted to opt-out of retail cannabis sales.