Article by Sam Riches, Leafly
On the morning of Thursday, May 26, 2016, Trevor Harris* was sitting in a Toronto dispensary cutting cannabis into small amounts, grams and eighths, preparing it for sale. It had been a slow morning for the budtender. He had just finished helping a customer choose a topical product, a balm to treat their rheumatoid arthritis, but the store was now empty so he was in the back, prepping the supply. This was not an unusual scenario, but things were about to take a turn.
Harris heard a deep, resonant thud arriving from outside. He got up from his chair and looked out the window. The dispensary was located among a collection of dispensaries in the east end of the city, and a few storefronts away, Harris saw Toronto Police officers breaking down the door of another shop. He rushed to the front of the store to get a closer look. By the time he got to the front window, police officers were at his door.
Moments later Harris and his co-workers were in handcuffs. Soon after, the store was emptied out, the cash and cannabis seized. Harris, who has a medical marijuana license, was charged with several bylaw offenses.
The next day, at a cantankerous press conference at Toronto Police headquarters, Chief Mark Saunders addressed the raids. Standing behind a podium, Saunders shifted his weight foot to foot and pursed his lips as he fielded questions from reporters, and protesters shouted in the background. “Where are the victims?” they asked. “What harm is being done?”
Saunders went over the results of the raid, which were also displayed on a table next to him and on shelves behind him. He was surrounded by giant ziploc bags, filled with colourful edibles—lollipops and gummies and cannabis infused sodas. The streets now safe from these wares.
“It is a genuine health concern because there is no regulatory process behind this,” Saunders said. “So you don’t know if you go into one store and you purchase one brownie or one muffin or cupcake, you go to the next store—how much THC is in this one versus that one? You don’t know—and where did it come from, and how is it manufactured, and what is the quality control of the premises that actually made it?”