Article by CBC News
A week after legal pot stores began opening up in Toronto, city officials are warning they will take tough action against those who continue to operate illegally.
“We are starting an aggressive enforcement action [which will continue] for the foreseeable future,” Mark Sraga, the director of investigation services for municipal licensing and standards, told CBC Toronto.
“Currently, our intelligence tells us we have 20 illegal cannabis stores open and operating in the city.”
The first nine licensed cannabis stores in Ontario opened for business on April 1. There are two stores operating in Toronto — Yorkville-based Ameri, which opened Sunday; and The Hunny Pot, which started a week earlier.
Sraga is urging those looking to buy pot to shop at the licensed stores, noting that in addition to supporting criminals, they are also taking a risk if they buy on the black market.
“I would say to anybody looking to purchase illegally, your own personal health and well-being is at risk because it’s an unknown commodity. You don’t know what it is contaminated with, whether it’s pesticides, mold or other narcotics,” Sraga said.
“If you’re buying from an illegal source you’re supporting a criminal element. It’s as simple as that.”
Zero tolerance approach
Sraga said once the announcement was made that there would only be 25 licensed stores in the province and only five in Toronto, the illegal market saw an opportunity that they jumped on and are continuing to try and capitalize on.
But he said his office is adopting a zero tolerance approach as it moves to clamp down the illegal operators.