Credit to Author: Gordon Hoekstra| Date: Sun, 22 Dec 2019 19:50:14 +0000
Operators of pot shops in Vancouver and Squamish have found themselves in the crosshairs of civil forfeiture proceedings by the B.C. government.
In claims filed this month in B.C. Supreme Court, the province’s Civil Forfeiture Office seeks to seize a pair of mortgaged properties in the Squamish and Pemberton areas valued at $1.93 million and more than $830,000 in cash seized at marijuana shops in Squamish and Vancouver.
The civil forfeiture claims allege the marijuana shops are illegal as they are not licensed to distribute or sell marijuana or cannabis to any person or entity.
Named in the civil suits are Rejean Ronald Joseph Houle, the director and sole operating mind of Budzilla Cannabis Inc., for an alleged illegal pot shop in Vancouver; and Chad William Jackett and Tania Lynn Jackett, directors and operating minds of Grass Roots Medicinal Inc., for an alleged illegal pot shop in Squamish.
There has been no response to the civil forfeiture claims, which contain allegations that have not been proven in court.
According to a claim filed on Dec. 11, Houle illegally operated a marijuana dispensary at 2267 Kingsway in Vancouver. Police visited the shop in April to warn about possible enforcement for unlawfully selling marijuana.
In September, Vancouver police observed at the Kingsway store several jars containing dried marijuana, various marijuana paraphernalia, several bottles labelled as marijuana extract, weigh scales, $811,661.60 in Canadian currency, US$4,262 and 19 one-ounce silver coins. Vancouver police seized the money and coins.
According to the claim, illegal activities also included possession of proceeds of crime, money laundering and failure to declare taxable income.
The civil forfeiture claim cites alleged previous illegal activity by Houle, including the seizure by police of marijuana at Budzilla in 2014, the seizure of marijuana by police in a Mercedes driven by Houle in 2017, and the seizure of dangerous dogs at Budzilla in 2019.
Also on Dec. 11, in a claim filed against the Jacketts, the civil forfeiture office alleges they operated an illegal marijuana dispensary on Tantalus Road in Squamish.
The claim also alleges that Liberty Farms north of Pemberton unlawfully produced marijuana products unlawfully sold to Grass Roots.
In the filing, the civil forfeiture office noted the Jacketts had personal use and dedicated use production licences but did not have licences to distribute or sell marijuana.
In June, the Jacketts were warned about potential enforcement for the unlawful sale of marijuana, according to the civil forfeiture claim.
In November, the RCMP visited the Squamish store and observed several jars containing dried marijuana, several bottles labelled as marijuana extracts, $13,311.75 in cash and USB sticks, according to the claim.
The cash and USB sticks were seized by police.
The province claims a house in Squamish at 38108 Hemlock and the Liberty farm north of Pemberton, at 7780 Owl Ridge, Mount Currie, are proceeds of crime and have been used to launder money. The Jacketts are also accused of failing to declare taxable income.
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