Black market crackdown: Police raid several marijuana dispensaries

Black market crackdown: Police raid several marijuana dispensaries
Toronto police raid five illegal cannabis dispensaries
CityNews cameras captured police entering suspected dispensaries at 66 Fort York Blvd. and 19 Church St.

But police confirmed only the Fort York dispensary as one of five they targeted. The others were at 333 Spadina Ave., 912 Danforth Ave., 1506 Dundas St. W. and 2655 Lawrence Ave. E.

Under Ontario law, the provincial government’s online retailer, the Ontario Cannabis Store, is the only legal vendor for marijuana until April 1. At that time, the Ontario government will issue licences for private businesses to sell cannabis.

Investigators, working cooperatively with the City of Toronto’s Municipal Licensing and Standards, issued interim closure orders on all five locations.

“There were several people charged and released. We also worked cooperatively with the citys Municipal Licensing and Standards to issue interim closure orders on the locations,” Toronto police spokeswoman Meaghan Gray said.

Marijuana prohibition came to an end across Canada on Wednesday, but it can only legally be sold in Ontario through the Ontario Cannabis Store website. Private legal dispensaries are poised to open after April according to Premier Doug Ford, whose government opened the door to a private model overseen by the LCBO.

Just as before Oct. 17, we are enforcing the laws and we are continuing to do so. Anybody who remains open is to do so at their own risk,” spokesperson Gary Long told Global News Friday evening.

More than half of the illegal marijuana dispensaries in Toronto closed up shop when legalization became official on Wednesday, but the city is still dealing with some that havent heeded the stern warnings from police and politicians.

“There are no legal shops in Toronto due for six months but Toronto police services want you to have no real access for half a year while pot is supposedly legal,” he wrote.

The Licensing and Standards department told CityNews that 56 of 92 known dispensaries voluntarily closed on Wednesday, with 36 stores continuing to sell black market marijuana.

“We’ll be going after all of them,” said Tracey Cook, executive director Municipal Licensing and Standards.

Just two days after cannabis was legalized across Canada, Toronto police say drug squad officers raided five marijuana dispensaries across the city Friday afternoon.

“The Cannabis Act … allows for penalties for both the operators and the landlords. The landlords have a lot to lose. If they have illegal operations happening in their properties, they are subject to some severe fines. Now a lot of people may not understand the rules, so we’ve given them notice in writing … so they clearly understand the jeopardy they are putting their properties in.”

According to the Department of Justice, illegal distribution or sale of cannabis under the Cannabis Act carries a penalty of up to 14 years in prison and fines of up to $250,000.

Long said officers were enforcing provisions under the Cannabis Act. He said several people were charged and released.

On Thursday, city inspectors began handing out notices to landlords and dispensary owners, informing them of the potential penalties under the Act.

READ MORE: Ontario Cannabis Store says it had 100,000 online sales in first 24 hours of legalization

The letter was provided to put the landlords on notice of their responsibilities and potential penalties under the new Cannabis Act. We have not prescribed a timeline, as immediate compliance is expected, the city said in an email.

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@Fakenews: Now they will not be allowed to sell legally when private stores can sell it. They lost big time. And a criminal record to boot.

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Toronto police raided five illegal cannabis dispensaries operating across the city Friday, two days after recreational cannabis use was made legal across the country.

Toronto police spokesperson Gary Long said dispensaries located at 66 Fort York Boulevard, 333 Spadina Avenue, 912 Danforth Avenue, 1506 Dundas Street West and 2655 Lawrence Avenue East were the subject of investigation by drug squad officers on Friday.

The law in Ontario allows adults 19 or older to possess up to 30 grams of cannabis for recreational use, as well as four marijuana plants in their home.

Until April 1,2019, all cannabis for sale in the province will be sold through the Ontario Cannabis Store website.

Other provinces such as Quebec, Newfoundland and Nova Scotia already have operational cannabis retail shops.