Toronto: Pot Shops Under Attack

Update: see previous post – April 30, 2016 Toronto: May Soon Crack Down on Cannabis Dispensaries

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The City of Toronto has decided to crack down on approximately 75 unlicensed cannabis dispensaries. Sixty-four landlords have now received warning letters about renting space to tenants selling marijuana in unlicensed storefront operations across Toronto. Property owners are told they have three days to shut the businesses down or potentially face stiff fines for contravening zoning bylaws. photo by


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.

Property of Ontario Motor Vehicle Tickets
Right now, only licensed producers authorized by Health Canada — just 15 in Ontario and 27 across the country — are allowed to sell pot through the mail to those with verified prescriptions. photo by
Property of Ontario Motor Vehicle Tickets
In a sweeping crackdown, Toronto officials say that, by month’s end, every single one of the city’s growing number of marijuana dispensaries – estimated at up to 100 storefronts across town – will be facing charges for violating zoning rules and up to $50,000 in fines. photo by
Property of Ontario Motor Vehicle Tickets
Toronto’s zoning bylaw, he said, does not allow for marijuana dispensaries, and a conviction for operating a business without zoning carries a $50,000 fine for a corporation and $25,000 for individuals. The City of Toronto also warned that landlords could face similar charges for allowing tenants to operate illegal businesses. photo by
Property of Ontario Motor Vehicle Tickets
In Kensington Market alone, there at least six dispensaries selling medicinal marijuana within a one-kilometre radius. photo by

Photos of other Cannabis Dispensaries on the Danforth:

The Green Rhino, a store offering medicinal cannabis to clients on the Danforth.

A recently opened Medical Cannabis Dispensary "The Green Rhino" on the Danforth.

Another shop "WEEDS" has opened up on the Danforth. Trudeau has announced that his government will be launching a task force within the next few weeks to closely examine and evaluate every aspect of their goal to legalize, regulate and restrict access to marijuana.

The Danforth has seen three (3) stores recently open up, all in close proximity to each other. The Green Rhino, WEEDS and S.H.E.D.

S.W.E.D. Dispensary has opened up on the south side of Danforth Ave., close to WEEDS and the Green Rhino. photo by

Cannabis Dispensaries in close proximity to each other. S.W.E.D. is located at 333 Danforth Ave, further east is WEEDS at 341 Danforth Ave and the Green Rhino is located at 393 Danforth Ave. All expect a booming business.

Cannabis paraphernalia. photo by

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