British Columbia Retailers Sue Government Over Unlicensed Cannabis Sales on First Nation Lands

Cannabis retailers in British Columbia, Canada are suing the province’s attorney general, minister of public safety, and Community Safety Unit over unlicensed cannabis sales on First Nation lands.

Full story after the jump.

A group of licensed cannabis retailers in British Columbia, Canada are suing the province for $40 million over what they claim is a failure to crack down on illegal cannabis shops on First Nation land, Global News reports. The lawsuit claims that each retailer has seen “a $500,000 yearly reduction in gross sales due to business lost to illicit retailers operating on reserves with the knowledge of the defendants.”

The lawsuit was filed on April 27 and lists B.C.’s attorney general, the minister of public safety, and B.C.’s Community Safety Unit as defendants. It names 14 companies as plaintiffs.

“These illicit retailers on Indian Reserves are not authorized under British Columbia law to operate retail cannabis stores. There is no retail cannabis store license issued by the (Liquor and Cannabis Regulation Branch) in relation to these retailers.” – the lawsuit statement of claim via Global News

The lawsuit contends that the unlicensed retailers are selling products that originated in the unregulated market or illegally obtained products that were not purchased from the B.C. government as required by provincial regulations and federal law.

The plaintiffs allege that the defendants have repeatedly been advised of the unlicensed sales occurring on First Nation lands “with specific information regarding the location of the illicit retailers. However, the defendants have failed to act.”

Along with seeking $40 million in damages, the plaintiffs want an order requiring the defendants to enforce the Cannabis Control and Licensing Act to prevent unregulated cannabis shops no matter where they pop up in the province.

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