Toronto Crackdown in Countdown to Canadian Legalization

Article by Bill Weinberg, Cannabis Now

EVENTS Toronto Crackdown in Countdown to Canadian Legalization Another dispensary is raided by police in Toronto — the latest in a string of such busts in the city over the past months, with some outlets even being shut down. It’s an irony that this crackdown comes as Canada is in its final countdown to legalization and opens questions about whether there will be a place for independent dispensaries and small growers under the imminent new regulation regime. ByBill Weinberg

In what is becoming something of a ritual in Toronto, police used a hammer and crowbar to smash locks and force open the door at the city’s California Cannabis dispensary last week.

No arrests were made as nobody was on the premises at the time, but several hundred grams of herb were confiscated, according to the report from the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation.

This was actually the fifth such raid on the dispensary in Toronto’s West End in less than three months. Each time, police confiscated computers and cannabis. There have also been arrests in some of the raids — although so far no convictions.

The fact that the place remains open is part of what the CBC calls “a frustrating reality for law enforcement.” Despite ongoing raids, businesses rarely stay closed and any charges are usually dropped.

“We’ve actually watched them go out and get new monitors the next day, new Bell lines for their Wi-Fi,” Sgt. Todd Storey complained to the CBC. “So they’re up and running on the internet, so they can tell their customers what they have, where they are, and that they are open.”

But the report says Toronto’s cops are determined to shut the dispensaries down “for good.” Some 600 dispensary employees were charged in Toronto between May 2017 and the year’s end — although more than 350 have had their charges dropped.

And in November, the province of Ontario passed new legislation to assist the crackdown on illegal dispensaries. “We have given police more powers to be able to close these stores and keep them closed,” boasted Attorney General Yasir Naqvi.

Read the full article here.

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