Community Safety Unit - cannabis enforcement

The Community Safety Unit (CSU), under the Policing and Security Branch of the Ministry of Public Safety and Solicitor General, is responsible for compliance and enforcement under the Cannabis Control and Licensing Act (CCLA), with a focus on the illegal sale and production of cannabis.

CSU investigators carry out compliance and enforcement activities against unlicensed cannabis retailers and producers across the province.    

The CSU operates investigations through a variety of reactive and proactive strategies, including complaints received from the public, government agencies, police, and legal market operators.

The Community Safety Unit (CSU)'s mandate is to deliver a province-wide compliance and enforcement program to prioritize public health and safety, protect children and youth, and keep the criminal element out of the cannabis industry. CSU has collected $1.45 million in penalties and seized over $34.7 million in cannabis through 91 enforcement actions. CSU has conducted 320 educational visits and as a result, 189 unlicensed stores have closed. CSU has investigated 1205 websites involved in the illegal sale of cannabis and has disrupted 796 of those websites. 

Enforcement activities of the CSU

The CSU has the authority to enter premises where cannabis is being sold or produced without a provincial or federal  licence and take enforcement action, including making seizures of cannabis and equipment used in connection with a contravention of the CCLA or the regulations. A person may be charged for a provincial or criminal offence and may be subject to an administrative monetary penalty under the CCLA for the same contravention.

Conviction of a provincial offence under the CCLA can result in fines up to $100,000, imprisonment for up to 12 months, or both. In addition to enforcement action by the CSU, a person illegally selling or producing cannabis may be subject to enforcement action by the police.

CSU also conducts enforcement action against illicit online cannabis sales and works with law enforcement partners locally and across Canada to investigate and disrupt illegal online sales.

CSU continues to engage with partners both provincially and nationally to support enforcement activities of the CSU.  This includes increased coordination with enforcement partners, such as police agencies, the Civil Forfeiture Office and the Investigations Unit of the Ministry of Finance, responsible for illegal tobacco enforcement.