Article by Enzo DiMatteo, Now Toronto
Paid my first visit to a cannabis dispensary the other day. Say what?
That’s right, storefront weed dispensaries are supposed to be illegal in Ontario. But a few former grey-market shops that were forced to shut their doors on legalization day or risk massive fines are taking their chances.
Doug “Ontario is open for business” Ford reneged on his deal to allow them to apply for retail licences – so WTF, right?
As long as the neighbours aren’t complaining, or so I’m told by the budtender in a too-big toque behind the counter, the cops seem to be cool with it. This one re-opened just before Christmas and hasn’t felt any heat yet.
That might have to do with the fact that it’s located on a main street and nowhere near a school, reducing the chances of someone taking issue. Other shops haven’t been so lucky, facing a crackdown on orders from the premier’s office shortly after legalization took effect on October 17.
But enough of them that have re-opened – one estimate puts the number at 16 in the province – have so far managed to escape scrutiny. And a good thing, too, given the supply shortages messing with what’s available online through the Ontario Cannabis Store, the only legal source in the province.
Haven’t you heard? The OCS is having a problem keeping its metaphorical shelves stocked (again). It’s been a chronic problem, so much so that Licensed Producers are promising to ramp up production to five times current levels to avoid future dry spells.
But for the foreseeable future at least, the illicit operations that legalization was supposed to supplant are here to stay – as long as the cops don’t get wise.
All I had to do is sign up for a membership – the shop’s way of making sure I’m not a narc – and in I was.