Brett Steves, manager, said store had become unsustainable. (THE NEWS/files)

Maple Ridge pot shop that gives free cannabis to sick people, closes doors after police raid

Community Safety Unit moved in on Dec. 18

The Hammond Compassion Society store that provided pot in Hammond for four years, is closing its doors for good, this Sunday, manager Brett Steeves said Thursday.

​”Our activism is over, we will no longer be participating in the industry of cannabis. We are stepping aside to allow a new group to come into Hammond and open a legal retail cannabis store,” Steeves said in an e-mail.

Read more: Provincial police raid Hammond pot store

Police officers with the provincial Community Safety Unit raided the store, also known as Deacon Blues, on Dec. 18, posting a notice on the windows and closing the doors to the public.

The Community Safety Unit, a division of the Public Safety Ministry, works with police to shut down unlicensed sellers that still hold the vast majority of the B.C. cannabis market.

Steeves said that since the store opened four years ago, its sales of recreational cannabis allowed the store to provide medicinal cannabis, for free, to those suffering from cancer, multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s disease and Crohn’s disease and, “so many other different illnesses we can’t even quantify it all.”

He added that during the past six months, as more stores were closed by the Community Safety Unit, the store, as one of the last unlicensed medicinal stores, was inundated with customers from throughout the Fraser Valley, Vancouver and around B.C.

Read more: One store in Maple Ridge remains for pot puffers

“This wasn’t about access to cannabis, but access to free medical cannabis,” Steeves said.

When the store’s clinical clients out-numbered its recreational clients three to one, the store had become financially unsustainable, Steeves said.

“We had become financially unsustainable, which is direct result of a far-reaching issue of affordability, with the collateral damage being perpetrated here, on our senior citizens and the sick, those who are most vulnerable in our society, people who are actually suffering as a result of the actions of the representatives of the Crown,” Steeves said.

On behalf of the society’s board, he thanked the Ridge Meadows RCMP, Maple Ridge council, the community of Maple Ridge, and the historic neighbourhood of Port Hammond.

A spokesman for the Liquor Distribution Branch said approval has been given to open a government-owned cannabis shop at 207th Street and Lougheed Highway but there’s no opening date yet.



pmelnychuk@mapleridgenews.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Video series reassures kids that Santa still coming to town, despite social distancing

Mission’s Junction Shopping Centre created the series to ease children’s fears

Permanent fish-passage solutions considered at Big Bar landslide

151,000 salmon detected this year north of site

CRIME STOPPERS: ‘Most wanted’ for the week of Sept. 27

Crime Stoppers’ weekly list based on information provided by police investigators

Action demanded over death of First Nations youth in Abbotsford group home

Family and Indigenous organizations push for thorough investigation

Expanded COVID-19 testing and collection centre opening at UFV

New Abbotsford service location will now conduct as many as 500 tests daily

105 new COVID-19 cases, 1 death as health officials urge B.C. to remember safety protocols

There are currently 1268 active cases, with 3,337 people under public health monitoring

U.S. Presidential Debate Takeaways: An acrid tone from the opening minute

Here are key takeaways from the first of three scheduled presidential debates before Election Day on Nov. 3

Another death as COVID-19 outbreak at Delta Hospital climbs to 18 cases

Total of 12 patients and six staff in one unit have tested positive for COVID-19: Fraser Health

B.C. nurses report rise in depression, anxiety, exhaustion due to pandemic

A new UBC study looks into how the COVID-19 response has impacted frontline nurses

National child-care plan could help Canada rebound from COVID-induced economic crisis: prof

A $2 billion investment this year could help parents during second wave of pandemic

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Search suspended for Indigenous elder last seen mushroom picking in northwest B.C.

Mushroom picker Thomas (Tommy) Dennis has been missing since Sept. 16

16 MLAs retiring from B.C. politics add up to $20M in pensions: Taxpayers Federation

Taxpayers pay $4 for every dollar MLAs contribute to their pensions

‘Bonnie’ and ‘Henry’ among latest litter of service dog puppies

B.C. Alberta Guide Dogs names two pups after provincial health officer

Most Read