Local MLA Nicholas Simons and his assistant Kim Tournat encountered picket signs as they entered Simons’ temporary constituency office at Teredo Square in Sechelt on Feb. 21. The protest, organized by Michelle Sikora was in opposition to a raid conducted by the provincial Community Safety Unit (CSU) at her cannabis outlet, S&M Medicinal Sweet Shoppe in Gibsons. Simons spoke briefly with the handful of protesters that were gathered at the site before proceeding inside. The protesters then moved to the sidewalk at the edge of Teredo Street to share their message with passing motorists.
On Feb. 18, officers from the CSU seized cannabis products and closed operations at Sikora’s store and the Sun Coast Culture outlet on Teredo Street in Sechelt. Officers from the local RCMP detachment were in attendance during both visits.
Neither of the outlets raided has a provincial licence to sell cannabis. Sun Coast has applied but has not yet received a licence. That location has remained closed to the public since the raid.
The S&M store reopened on Feb. 19. Sikora stated that it is her intention to continue to operate. As of Feb. 23, no charges related to the raid have been filed against Sikora, her partner or their commercial operation.
S&M has not made a provincial licence application to sell cannabis products. Sikora stated that the recreational retail licence that can be applied for does not fit S&M’s business model of serving as a dispensary for medical cannabis products. Her position is that patients have the right of access to the prescribed medicines that the store is making available. During the protest, she carried a sign proclaiming, “We are Healers, Not Dealers”. The cannabis products sold at the store are produced by Sikora and her partner and are not the same as those available in licenced outlets.
Sikora claims that the search at her store on Feb. 18 was improperly conducted. “The CSU can enter and seize items from the store without a warrant but not from my personal vehicle, which was done,” said Sikora.
Under the Cannabis Control and Licensing Act, individuals have 30 days to apply to have seized cannabis returned or to be compensated for the value of the product removed. To do so they must demonstrate that they were legally entitled to possess the cannabis at the time of the seizure. “We definitely will be applying for the return of the items seized, especially those taken from my personal vehicle,” said Sikora.