Lack of Cannabis Retail Stores in Waterloo Region Means Black Market Will Carry On: Police Chief

Article by Kate Bueckert, CBC News

Lack of cannabis retail stores in Waterloo region means black market will carry on: Police chief Social Sharing Facebook Twitter Reddit LinkedIn 'What we’re seeing is business carrying on in the underground market,' Larkin says Kate Bueckert · CBC News These pot edibles were seized from an illegal pot store in Cambridge that was busted twice in the same week prior to cannabis becoming legal. Next week, retail cannabis stores will be allowed to open in Ontario but there's only 25 of them and none are setting up shop in Waterloo region. That means the black market will carry on selling to people, Police Chief Bryan Larkin says. (Waterloo Regional Police Service)

When 25 retail cannabis stores are allowed to open in the province on Monday, none will be having a grand opening in Waterloo region and that’s a problem for police, says Chief Bryan Larkin.

The provincial government opted to allow a limited number of stores to open as of April 1, although not all of them will be ready to open on Monday. Those who are permitted to open won a lottery for cannabis retail store licenses and learned of their win in January.

Waterloo region was not chosen by any of the winners as a location for a store. The closest retail stores will be in London, the Hamilton area and Toronto. People can also purchase pot online.

“It’s unfortunate,” Larkin said in an interview with CBC Kitchener-Waterloo.

“One of the key recommendations of the end of prohibition of cannabis … it was designed to actually create a regulated, controlled and lawful market and so it’s concerning that our community [and] users will not have access to regulated, controlled stores.”

Larkin says a retail market would have targeted illicit trafficking, organized crime, the grey market, the underground market and it would provide customers with a safe supply.

“We were hoping from a policing perspective and from a chief’s perspective that the province would be ready to transition to retail stores at the end of the month. Clearly that won’t happen for our region, so it does present challenges. Are they insurmountable? No, they’re not insurmountable,” he said.

Read the full article here.

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