Article by The Canadian Press via Global News
As tens of thousand of Ontarians purchased cannabis through a government website on Wednesday, some users in Toronto preferred getting their pot from unlicensed dispensaries that remained open despite the threat of criminal prosecution.
It was business as usual at 1Tonamara, an illegal pot shop located in the city’s downtown, hours after recreational cannabis became legal nationwide. The Spadina Avenue shop, along with the Cloud 6ix dispensary up the street, had customers entering every few minutes.
“Today business has been good, you know, I guess with a lot of other places shut down it helps,” said 1Tonamara employee Mike Vander Marel.
Many of the city’s dispensaries have, however, shut down in the leadup to legalization in response to a promise by the provincial government that illegal pot shop owners who obeyed the law, would be allowed to apply for retail licences.
Closing the storefront shops and leaving only online options, with delivery delays and possible shortages, doesn’t make much sense, said Vander Marel.
“I think it’s a dumb thing for them to legalize something and then have it so inaccessible…it would be like after prohibition, if they made booze legal but there was no legal booze.”