Last week Canada made history by becoming the second country in the world and first major G7 country to legalize cannabis for recreational use. As Canadians coast to coast celebrates legalization, the country’s largest city is now having a hard time finding a dealer.
Toronto is known for being fairly liberal when it comes to cannabis use and has had illegal dispensaries operating for years prior to October 17th. It's not uncommon to catch a whiff of someone smoking a joint on the street but now Toronto police raids are making it nearly impossible to pick up weed anywhere in the city.
The Toronto police issued a press release, stating that they raided 10 different dispensaries in the city over the weekend, leading to 21 charges being laid between Friday and Sunday. While cannabis may be legal in Canada, those charges were made under the provincial Cannabis Act due to the grey-area in operating dispensaries.
Narcity wrote about how it would technically be illegal to smoke cannabis in Ontario on October 17th. Due to the changes put in place by Premier Doug Ford after taking over for Kathleen Wynne, legal brick and mortar cannabis dispensaries would be unable to open until April of 2019. Instead, the province opted to offer mail order service online to Ontarians for the time being.
Part of Doug Ford's changes to cannabis legalization in Ontario was the current operating dispensaries could apply to become legal sellers. The catch was that they would have to shutter their stores in October to reopen in April, just like everyone else.
While some dispensaries have chosen to do so, others operating after October 17th are making money on what the government considered "illegal cannabis." That's exactly why there were 10 different dispensaries raided over the weekend between October 19th to the 21st.
Weed Maps lists the dispensaries available in Toronto currently but with the additional 10 closures over the weekend many of the listed dispensaries are actually closed. They've also still got additional listings like The Green Room and Parkdale Compassion Club which have closed their doors to reopen in the spring.
So what dispensaries did the police raid? It's trickier than stating that they only closed down and charged dispensary owners because smoking lounges were also included in their brief, making it seem like illegal cannabis sales were also taking place.
Here's the full list of dispensaries closed in Toronto over the weekend:
- Cafe 66 - 66 Fork York Blvd. This dispensary was raided on both October 19th and October 20th.
- Cloud 6ix - 333 Spadina Ave. This dispensary was raided on October 19th.
- 56 Section - 912 Danforth Ave. This dispensary was raided on October 19th.
- The Healing Centre Dispensary - 1506 Dundas Street West. This dispensary was raided on October 19th.
- Golden Leaf - 2655 Lawrence Avenue. This dispensary was raided on October 19th.
- Allevi 8 - 250 Church Street. This dispensary was raided on October 20th.
- 19 Baldwin Street - Unclear business name. This business was raided on October 20th.
- Green Corner - 282 Eglinton Ave West. This dispensary was raided on October 21st.
- The Bud Station - 1506 Eglinton Ave West. This dispensary was raided on October 21st.
- Lounge 420 - 1530 Queen Street West. This lounge was raided on October 21st.
Hazy laws around legalization have only led to greater confusion in the province about what cannabis rules are. Torontonians were quick to jump online and comment on how getting weed has become harder since legalization.
Total Pot Crackdown – Toronto police raid and shut down five illegal marijuana dispensaries.. I walked down Spadina on Friday night and didn't see anything open.. https://t.co/P60RjJ0Co8 pic.twitter.com/oSs0dPdDle— weedloving (@weedlovingca) October 21, 2018
My friend in Toronto said she had to go to 4 dispensaries yesterday!— Samantha Marie (@samanthamarie) October 22, 2018
Anyone know what the Toronto police are charging dispensary workers with in the latest raids?— Robert Wiseman (@RobertAWiseman) October 21, 2018
For now, it looks like Torontonians are going to have to get cannabis products from the OCS website or take the risk that comes with shopping at a grey-market dispensary.
While it sounds like residents of Ontario's capital are unhappy with the legalization process currently, it's safe to say that when shops open up in April there will be plenty of happy customers.