Article by Jenny Yuen, Toronto Sun
When Abi Roach heard Premier Kathleen Wynne’s announcement on the rollout of government-regulated marijuana sales Friday, she said she nearly smashed her TV.
The owner of Hotbox Café in Kensington Market maintains the decision to shut down weed dispensaries and vape lounges — such as the one she has run for 18 years — and force people to only smoke cannabis at home will only drive business underground.
“They’re not listening to the industry, they’re not listening to the federal government — which recommended lounges and consumption spaces — they’re listening to what they want to hear,” she said.
“And this is the problem with the Ontario Liberals. They want to do as they please,” Roach said. “I think it’s based on them thinking, ‘How can we pad the pockets for us and not for everyone else?’”
During the Project Claudia raids in May, many people working in the city’s 150 dispensaries at the time lost their jobs.
Roach said the regulations, which will come into effect next July, mean parents who don’t want to consume around their children are now forced to within the home. And many rental units as it is don’t allow smoking of any kind.
Her vapour lounge has 10,000 clients a month.
“You have people that are used to selling alcohol selling cannabis,” said Roach. “They have no clue on how to use vapourizers. And then vapourizers are part of the Smoke Free Ontario Act, and yet, they’re not able to buy edibles. So, you’re just making better public health choices when you’ve created a vacuum for horrible choices.”