Edmonton man charged for operating illegal cannabis store in west end.
An Edmonton man is facing four charges for illegal cannabis sales from a non-licensed retail store.
Police seized $12,000 worth of illegal cannabis products during a search of the store Wednesday in the area of 150 Street and 118 Avenue.
Investigators seized seeds, oils, waters, pills, creams and even cannabidiol-infused deodorant during the search warrant after police obtained information in late 2018 leading them to investigate the business, police said Friday.
Police cannabis liaison Const. Dexx Williams said at a news conference the owner of the business did not have any of the licences to legally sell cannabis or cannabis products.
Williams believes this is the first illegal cannabis shop to be shut down since legalization and police are aware of at about a dozen other shops in Edmonton.
“We have had conversations with some of these businesses to advise them what they need to do properly,” said Williams.
Edmonton police continue to receive tips — about three to five a week — from the public regarding the illegal sale of cannabis and they are currently following up on those tips.
Due to limited resources since legalization, Williams said the main focus for police has been education and awareness campaigns along with the legal distribution of cannabis.
But, Williams said, now that it is March, that process has been done and anyone who continues to sell illegal cannabis and products will face the consequences.
“If an individual chooses to sell cannabis or cannabis products containing cannabis they need to have a licence and follow the regulatory requirements to do so or there will be significant criminal consequences,” said Williams.
“Anybody who is involved in the sale and distribution of cannabis is in jeopardy of those consequences.”
Nizarali Lakhani, 65, faces two counts of unauthorized sale of cannabis, unauthorized possession of cannabis and possession of cannabis for the purpose of selling.
The maximum sentence for illegally selling cannabis is 14 years.
The province seized $2.5 million of contraband shisha, tobacco and cigarettes and three people were arrested in a separate investigation Friday morning, a news release said.
Alberta Gaming, Liquor and Cannabis (AGLC) and Alberta Sheriffs found the illegal products, weighing about 3,039 kilograms, in a central Edmonton storage locker facility. The total potential lost tax revenue is estimated to be more than $972,000, the province said.
Imad Assi, Ibrahim Al-Sabbag and Mahmud Al-Sabbag have been charged with trafficking in contraband tobacco and are scheduled to appear in provincial court April 17.
— With files from Dustin Cook