Two Stores Report Break-Ins and Loss of Product
Two cannabis stores in BC have been targeted by burglars in the early morning hours of this week, causing significant damage to the stores and a loss of product. The most recent store to report a burglary was UEM Cannabis in Langley, which first posted about the incident on their social media on Tuesday, January 9. The post, shared on their Facebook page, says that in the early morning hours of that day, two vehicles, a truck and a car, arrived with six individuals who broke into the store. The individuals reportedly did significant damage to the store itself to gain access, with the men quickly making off with products like vape pen batteries, cannabis beverages, and extracts.
UEM Cannabis is one of the busier cannabis stores in BC, selling a large volume of cannabis products from their location in the middle of BC’s Lower Mainland. UEM also has a location in Vancouver. An employee at the Langley store told StratCann on Wednesday, January 10, that they are still open for business.
Another Store Also Suffers Damage
Seed and Stone’s Chilliwack location was the second store to face a similar burglary. Seed and Stone operates five stores in BC. Vikram Sachdeva, the Founder & CEO of Seed and Stone, confirms with StratCann that the burglary also occurred around 4:30 in the morning, similar to the previous burglary at UEM Cannabis. No employees were present at the store at the time.
Sachdeva says, like UEM, his store faced considerable damage from the burglars gaining entry to the store and then gaining access to glass display cases. He says the store is currently closed but is expected to open again in the coming days.
Retailers need to be very vigilant, he argues, as the industry has a “target on its back” with many assuming cannabis businesses are awash in cash. “We face so many issues,” says Sachdeva. “Banking is hard to come by. Margins are slim. And when we face something like this, it can be easy to get discouraged. But we just keep pushing forward. It’s what we have to do.”
He says the community has already shown him a lot of support, with customers stopping by the store offering encouragement and his landlord being very cooperative.
Robberies and Burglaries Not Uncommon
Robberies and burglaries of cannabis stores are not uncommon in BC and other provinces. Around a dozen stores were targeted by sometimes violent robbers in Calgary area in December 2023. Stores in Calgary have been previously targeted as well. Several stores in Ontario were also victims of break-ins, and there were at least two incidents of arson in early 2023.
Cannabis growers and processors have not been immune either. Earlier this year, at least two cannabis producers in BC’s Lower Mainland were burglarized. Alberta and BC have repealed their rules that required stores to have window coverings, which retailers said made their employees less safe in such incidents.
Retailers say they are having to spend more money to secure their stores as this new “cost of doing business” continues. Brionne Lavoie, owner of Frontier Cannabis store that was burglarized on December 6, says he’s now installing heavy vault doors on his storage rooms to avoid similar break-ins in future.
Lisa Bigioni co-founder & CEO Stok’d Cannabis which has four retail locations Ontario experienced two break-ins week before Christmas 2022 told StratCann earlier this year that they have made several upgrades properties Metal gates installed stores sleep better night Costs about $2000 per store Says fact compliance security cameras helped capture them action Helped police find them Evidence confident guys caught less than week later