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

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

Wes Barker, second from left, with fellow Big Trick Energy show performers on “Ellen,” in video posted to youtube.com.
VIDEO: On ‘Ellen,’ former Langley man works magic with new ‘Big Trick Energy’ gang

A decade ago, Wes Barker quit his job with the City of Surrey to do magic professionally

Dr. Bonnie Henry gives her daily media briefing regarding Covid-19 for the province of British Columbia in Victoria, B.C, Monday, December 7, 2020.   THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
More Langley-area business closed due to COVID-19

Any business with three or more cases among employees can be closed

Vancouver Giants victorious over the Royals in Kamloops Thursday, April 15. The G-Men won, 4-0. (Allen Douglas/Special to Black Press Media)
VIDEO: Giants young goalie shutouts Victoria, 4-0

The Langley-based WHL team earn another victory over the Royals Thursday in Kamloops

Critter Care’s first ever 50/50 winner is Kim Madill, who took home $28,852.50. (Critter Care/Special to The Star)
Winner takes home $28,852.50 through Critter Care’s first virtual 50/50

Kim Madill instantly donated part of the funds to the Langley-based wildlife society

Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Marco Mendicino holds a press conference in Ottawa on Thursday, Nov. 12, 2020. The federal government is moving forward on efforts to help citizens of Hong Kong remain in Canada rather than have to return. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Painful Truth: Canada’s immigration hopes may not be enough in post-COVID world

In a world of declining birth rates and rising wealth, where do new Canadians come from?

Rainbow trouts thrashing with life as they’re about to be transferred to the largest lake of their lives, even though it’s pretty small. These rainbows have a blue tinge because they matched the blue of their hatchery pen, but soon they’ll take on the green-browns of their new home at Lookout Lake. (Zoe Ducklow/News Staff)
VIDEO: B.C. lake stocked with hatchery trout to delight of a seniors fishing club

The Cherish Trout Scouts made plans to come back fishing soon

Nick Warmerdam and his dog Diesel are inviting locals to check out the Lakeland Farm U-pick Flower Farm this spring. (Ben Lypka/Abbotsford News)
VIDEO & SLIDESHOW: Abbotsford’s Lakeland Flowers opens for spring

Tulip farm attraction opened on April 14, open to the public daily seven days a week

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Royal Inland Hospital in Kamloops. (Dave Eagles/Kamloops This Week file photo)
RCMP intercept vehicle fleeing with infant taken from Kamloops hospital

The baby was at the hospital receiving life-saving care

The female driver of this Jeep Grand Cherokee (right) was driving erratically with a young child inside on Highway 1 eastbound. After hitting a barrier and a parked car, she finally exited the highway at Yale Road West and came to a stop. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
Video captures woman driving erratically with child after hitting barrier, car on Hwy 1 in Chilliwack

Smoke seen coming from SUV as it continues to travel eastbound of shoulder of highway

Former Pitt Meadows city councillor David Murray was convicted of sex assault, and is now being sued by the victim. (files)
Former Pitt Meadows city councillor sued for sex assault

David Murray was convicted in 2017 of sexually assaulting a teen 25 years earlier

Vancouver Police Const. Deepak Sood is under review by the Independent Investigations Office of B.C. after making comments to a harm reduction advocate Sunday, April 11. (Screen grab)
VIDEO: Vancouver officer convicted of uttering threats under watchdog review again

Const. Deepak Sood was recorded Sunday saying ‘I’ll smack you’ and ‘go back to selling drugs’ to a harm reduction advocate

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry prepares a daily update on the coronavirus pandemic, April 21, 2020. (B.C. Government)
B.C.’s COVID-19 infection rate persists, 1,005 new cases Friday

Hospitalization up to 425, six more virus-related deaths

The Nautical Dog Cafe at Skaha marina is getting its patio ready in hopes Mother Nature will provide where provincial restrictions have taken away indoor dining. (Facebook)
‘A lot of instability’: B.C. restaurants in layoff limbo

As COVID-19 cases stay high, restaurants in British Columbia are closed to indoor dining

Most Read