How a Would-Be Ottawa Pot ‘Empire’ Failed to Launch

Article by Shaamini Yogaretnam, Ottawa Citizen

How a would-be Ottawa pot 'empire' failed to launch

Franco Vigile wanted the world and then some.

But just as proposed legislation might open up the promised land of a recreational marijuana market, a legal spat, drug and gun charges against his family, and a connection to the Hells Angels all threaten to send Vigile’s dispensary dreams up in smoke.

Vigile, 29, once operated two pot dispensaries in the city, with a third location “coming soon.” But those two locations are now closed. A sign on the door Sunday at the Stittsville store reads: “To our valued customers. We are closed indefinitely. Sorry for the inconvenience.”

At the beginning of 2016, however, with one dispensary open, Vigile was looking to expand.

In his own words, revealed in text messages contained in a recent lawsuit, he planned for what would later be his Magna Terra Health Services chain to “become a reputable and recognized premium brand of retail cannabis throughout Ontario.” He boasted that a single dispensary had pulled in $115,000 in sales in just one month. The kind of money that would eventually bring both cops and robbers to his door.

Vigile first met Alex Zaslavksy in November 2015. Together, they planned to reach “the top” of the dispensary business, retire from day-to-day operations and have a network of as many as 16 pot shops that would be overseen by regional managers.

The nature of that introduction isn’t specified in any documents filed by the men or their lawyers. What is clear, though, is that by May 2016 enough “bad blood” had pooled between the would-be pot kings that Zaslavsky slapped Vigile with a $170,000 lawsuit alleging everything from breach of trust to breach of fiduciary duty and wanted to punish Vigile for his “high-handed, reckless, arbitrary, callous and wanton” behaviour.

Read full article here.

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