Ontario Quietly Removes Illegal Dispensary Residence Loophole

Article by Harrison Jordan, Leafly News

CANADAPOLITICS Ontario Quietly Removes Illegal Dispensary Residence Loophole HARRISON JORDAN benedek/iStock

Last week, the Government of Ontario quietly passed amendmentsto the province’s cannabis law that were instituted in response to a “loophole” that allowed dispensaries to remain open by claiming that someone was living on-premises and using the property as a residence.

The change was contained in an otherwise-unrelated government bill that was meant to address housing concerns in the province.

The Cannabis Control Act, passed in 2018, allowed enforcement officials to issue closure orders that enabled them to immediately close down any establishment in relation to a person’s cannabis offences.

That power has seen police and bylaw officials across Ontario shut down unlawful dispensaries and issue closure notices since the Act took effect. But because an exception contained in the law applies to residences, some dispensaries were reported to have put beds on their premises and claimed umbrage under this exception, thwarting closure orders and prompting the invalidation of prior closure notices.

In addition, the government made it a specific offence to enter or attempt to enter a premises that is subject to a closure order. Officers can now charge individuals with violating that order by entering the place, something that wasn’t possible before.

There’s also one amendment that has seen even less attention. Individuals convicted provincially of unlawful selling or distribution of cannabis now face mandatory minimum fines.

Read the full article here.

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