Article by Jacquie Miller, Ottawa Citizen
As the Ontario government’s online cannabis store struggles to meet demand and deliver weed on time, illegal operators in town are stepping up.
Five dispensaries were back in business on Wednesday. How long they will remain open is another question. Ottawa police warn they plan to close them.
Officers have visited dispensaries to give operators “one last chance to close down,” according to a statement from Ottawa Police Service Const. Amy Gagnon.
“In the coming weeks, they will be receiving another visit in order to close them down.”
Most of the city’s two dozen dispensaries closed shortly before Canada legalized recreational pot on Oct. 17. Stiff new fines for illegal sellers and landlords who rent to them came into effect that day. The province also warned that anyone still involved in the black market after legalization would not be eligible to apply for a licence to run a legal store.
Ontario plans to license privately-run cannabis stores, but the regulations are still being written. The stores are expected to open in April 2019.
In the meantime, the only legal supply is online from the Ontario Cannabis Store — and it has been deluged with complaints.
The store has struggled to meet what officials call the “unbelievably high” demand for legal pot just as postal workers stage rotating strikes.