Toronto’s illegal pot dispensaries are not going down without a fight. According to CTV, Toronto police and bylaw officers from the city’s Municipal Licensing and Standards division have conducted several successful enforcement raids against four weed shops operating under the CAFE Toronto brand. However, the pot shop refuses to stay dead.
CAFE is an unlicensed cannabis operation with shops on Bloor Street, St. Clair Avenue West, Fort York Boulevard and Harbord Street. According to Toronto city officials, its shops have been successfully shut down numerous time since last November, only for the shops to reopen days later and resume business as usual.
Lately, authorities have been stepping up their game to ensure the shops stay closed. Large concrete blocks have been placed over the entrance of several illegal pot dispensaries in recent months in an attempt to stop owners from resuming operations.
“We've taken the next step in our enforcement authorities, and we've put in hopefully a more permanent solution to stopping them from selling illegally,” said Mark Sraga, the MLS Director of Investigation Services, to The Toronto Star.
However, the concrete barrier solution proved to be futile this Thursday when CAFE’s Harbord Street location reopened its doors. People lined up outside the shop, Black SUVs arrived out front for pick-up and drop-off; it was business as usual, as if the whole shut down fiasco never even happened:
After being raided several times, locks changed, even concrete blocks put in place by #Toronto Bylaw Enforcement.… https://t.co/pKl4B1l6LD— Tony Fera (@Tony Fera) 1563488707.0
According to City of Toronto spokesperson Lyne Kyle, police are investigating the removal of the concrete slabs as a criminal offence. “As the blocks belong to the City, this is considered theft. Toronto police are investigating,” said Kyle according to The Star. Over 70 provincial charges have been laid against CAFE's staff and landlords since November.
Toronto bylaw officers put these 4-thousand pound blocks in front of an illegal Marijuana dispensary and multiple o… https://t.co/uWT5WfaBnu— Adrian Ghobrial (@Adrian Ghobrial) 1563475577.0
According to a report by CBC, CAFE defended its unlawful actions in a statement on Wednesday in which it claimed that its customers have a right to "reasonable, dignified access" to cannabis.
The company argued that the government-regulated market had failed pot-smokers with its long wait times, lack of edibles and shortages, while also stating that unlicensed retailers of the now-legal plant are being treated worse than “thugs or murderers.”