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Police raid Toronto pot dispensaries for non-medical marijuana traffickers

CityNews | posted Friday, May 27th, 2016

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Toronto police raided several marijuana dispensaries across the city on Thursday, charging people for trafficking non-medical marijuana.

The drug squad worked with several police divisions and the city’s Licencing and Standards division in conducting the raids.

Among the dispensaries which were raided:

  • 600 Church St.
  • Eden Medicinal Society (Queen Street location)
  • Cannabis Connoisseur
  • The Green Room (Spadina and Nassau)
  • Weed, Glass and Gifts
  • Cannawide in Kensington Market

Toronto Police said this was a criminal investigation. The drug squad officers were enforcing the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act. Police said they handed out cautions on May 18 and if the dispensaries were still operating illegally, they would be fined.

Police are scheduled to release the details about the raids, dubbed Project Claudia, including locations, charges and products seized at a press conference Friday morning.

Aaron Salz, an investment analyst at Interward Asset Management, says it’s likely that licensed producers pushed for today’s crackdown.

“If you’re a licensed producer with tens of millions of dollars of shareholder money invested into your facility and there’s an illegal business that’s disrupting you and isn’t operating legally, you have a vested interest to make sure that’s not happening,” he said. “In my view, there’s definitely some effort on the licensed producers that brought this about to some degree.”

The Municipal Licensing and Standards division said that as of Wednesday, it had issued notices to 78 property owners out of a known 83 dispensaries. The notices advised the property owners that the dispensaries are operating against the city’s zoning bylaw and that the owner may face charges. On Thursday, bylaw officers are charging business owners for “zoning by-law contraventions along with other municipal by-law charges.”

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