Update: see previous post – April 30, 2016 Toronto: May Soon Crack Down on Cannabis Dispensaries
City officials and police have now sent 64 warning letters to landlords telling them to shutter pot storefronts.
The Trudeau government promised during last year’s Federal election, that if the Federal Liberal party was elected, they would legalize marijuana. Recently the Federal Liberals announced that legislation would be put into place by April, 2017 legalizing marijuana.
In British Columbia many business owners, aniticipating the inevitable legalization of marijuana, opened “medical cannabis dispensaries” to provide marijuana to those who possessed a prescription for medical marijuana.
Many of those entrepreneurs headed east and landed in Toronto where they decided to open up shop. Health Canada insists that “dispensaries and other sellers of marijuana who are not licensed under the current law are illegal.”
On December 5, 2015 after Trudeau’s appointment as Canada’s 23rd Prime Minister, businesses were moving into the GTA at an accelerated pace.
Suddenly there was almost 75 medical marijuana dispensaries or cannabis dispensaries with large green signs in Toronto.
Some of these cannabis dispensaries demand to see a prescription for medical marijuana before selling pot. Others will sell a bag of weed to clients after they have had a discussion with what the dispensaries call a “health professional” on staff. The price for a gram is about $10 — or $225 for an ounce.
While medical marijuana is legal, it is supposed to be available only with a prescription from a medical doctor. Even then it must be obtained from one of 31 producers licensed by Health Canada via registered mail — not through storefront shops.
Health Canada takes the position that dispensaries and other sellers of marijuana who are not licensed under the current law are illegal. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s vow to legalize recreational use has left ambiguity around Health Canada rules, as has a court decision on patients growing their own plants. The rules say only federally-licensed producers can distribute pot, by delivery, to prescription-holding patients.
Last February a B.C. federal court judge, Justice Michael Phelan, struck down restrictions on medical marijuana users growing their own plants. He gave the government six (6) months to pass new rules on medical marijuana. Amid the legal uncertainty that followed, dispensaries have spread like wildfire.
Toronto’s licensing department is planning a crackdown on medical pot dispensaries operating without federal approval and in neighbourhoods not zoned industrial. The letters have already been generated and sent to the businesses and landlord of the property in which the business operates out of.
Photos of other Cannabis Dispensaries on the Danforth: