When Hamilton police pulled over a white Jeep Wednesday they expected to find a suspected suspended driver. Instead they uncovered what they believe is a cannabis “delivery man” and his illegal dispensary on wheels.
An officer spotted a plastic bin containing pot on the passenger seat. And police say they found several paper bags with various amounts of cannabis, with the buyer details attached and a GPS showing the man was headed to an address nearby.
It’s the first hard evidence local investigators have found of illegal pot deliveries in Hamilton, according to Const. Jerome Stewart — and of a potential new chapter in the story of cannabis sales in “Hamsterdam,” a city once known for the prevalence of its pot outlets.
Police announced back in June that they’d shut down all of the city’s illegal stores following months of raids, lockups and even a comment from Premier Doug Ford that outlaw dispensaries in Hamilton were his “biggest frustration” about legalization in Ontario.
But simply shuttering all the physical storefronts wasn’t enough to stop illegal cannabis sales, which just went digital.
“It is very apparent that there are quite a few same-day delivery services for cannabis,” said Stewart, adding several of the dispensaries police have already shut down are still offering sales online.
“They’ve obviously gone to another level now. With not having brick and motor stores their services are coming through another way.”
Stewart was quick to point out that there’s no evidence at this point that the man who was arrested was linked to any dispensary. But police seized two cell phones from him and say they’re continuing to investigate.
He would not comment on whether or not the customers whose information was seized along with the weed could also face repercussions.
Police were aware of some dispensaries offering delivery services as they continued to get shutdown, but Stewart said enforcement falls under the province’s joint cannabis task force. Wednesday’s arrest marked the first time Hamilton police have seen what appears to be a delivery man in action.