The fight by a popular Bank Street marijuana dispensary to stay in business has taken an intriguing twist.
Cannabis Culture closed in December after the frustrated landlord evicted his tenants, who were selling marijuana obtained from the black market.
Now the operators of Cannabis Culture have filed a court application demanding their lease be honoured so they can get back to operating their illegal business.
The lawsuit might be an indication that some dispensaries are digging in for a fight with authorities as the country gets closer to the legalization of recreational marijuana, expected this summer. The province has vowed to shut down the dispensaries as it prepares to open legal pot shops run by a subsidiary of the LCBO.
It’s also a sign of the continuing confusion around dispensaries as the pot wars heat up across the country.
The legal application filed by Cannabis Culture in the Ontario Superior Court of Justice on Feb. 2 says the landlord appears to believe the dispensary was operating illegally. “Which it is not.”
That statement will be news to the Ottawa police, Ontario’s Attorney General and the federal ministers of justice, health and public safety, who have said the dispensaries are illegal operations selling weed that is not regulated and might be unsafe.
As far as Ottawa police are concerned, the only difference between Cannabis Culture and a drug dealer on a street corner is that one operates out of a store.
Police have raided Cannabis Culture twice, charging the clerks working inside with drug trafficking. The store restocked its shelves and reopened. It only finally closed after a bailiff arrived with police, tacked an eviction notice from the landlord on the door and changed the locks.