Article by Greg Mercer, Waterloo Region Record
A new marijuana dispensary has opened up in downtown Kitchener, trying to fill a void in the black market ahead of legalization.
La Rouge, the latest in a string of cannabis shops that have popped up around Waterloo Region in recent years, is doing brisk business as the only walk-in dispensary operating locally after a police crackdown last year.
But its not looking for publicity.
A small sign off its Queen Street address directs customers to a side entrance. A young female clerk waits at a desk at the top of two flights of stairs explaining that only members can enter.
To get a membership, you need identification and to fill out a brief form. Inside, there’s smoking equipment, Bob Marley T-shirts and eight varieties of marijuana for sale for between $10-$15 a gram.
La Rouge’s manager declined interview requests to talk about the illegal business, which opened up a few doors down from another pot dispensary, Medit8, which recently closed.
Dispensary operators around the province are facing uncertain times as marijuana legalization looms in October. Some complain they’re being locked out of a market they helped cultivate, albeit illegally, while the government aims to cash in on regulated pot.
Ontario’s attorney general has made it clear — all non-government storefront shops selling marijuana will remain against the law, even after pot is legal.