Police conducting raids at a number of Toronto marijuana dispensaries
Chris Fox, CP24.com
Published Thursday, June 23, 2016 2:36PM EDT
Last Updated Thursday, June 23, 2016 4:19PM EDT
Police are conducting raids at a number of marijuana dispensaries in the city this afternoon as part of an ongoing effort to crackdown on the illegal businesses.
Chief Mark Saunders has confirmed that police have executed search warrants at four dispensaries.
Though Saunders did not say which dispensaries were targeted, CP24’s cameras did capture police entering both the Cannabis Culture on Queen Street West and the Canna Clinic in Kensington Market on Thursday.
According to Cannabis Culture owner Jodie Emery, the raid at her store comes one day after police sent her a letter indicating that they were aware of the fact that marijuana was being sold on the premises.
“I have employees who are bravely working in our shop to demonstrate what legalization looks like and the only harm being done today is not by our store and not by our employees; it is the police, their enforcement and the handcuffs and the criminal charges,” she said. “The police are the ones that need to be called out. These businesses are supported by the community and we just want to be left alone.”
Police first began cracking down on marijuana dispensaries in May after Mayor John Tory told reporters that the proliferation of the stores was turning into a crisis.
Then on May 26 police raided 43 dispensaries, arresting 90 people and charging them with a combined 186 charges under the Controlled Drug and Substances Act as well as 71 criminal charges.
Neither Cannabis Culture nor the Canna Clinic in Kensington Market were targeted during the May raids.
It is not immediately clear whether any arrests have been made during the course of today’s raids, however at least one person was seen being taken away from Cannabis Culture in handcuffs.
“It is illegal to sell marijuana unless you have a license given to you by Health Canada. I have never minced my words on this. I said the investigation would continue and this is the result of what I said,” Saunders said when asked about the raids at an unrelated news conference on Thursday. “If you have dispensaries and they are open then your chances of going to court and being charged and convicted are very high. I strongly recommend that you stop selling marijuana in dispensaries right now because they are all unlawful.”
Though marijuana advocates like Emery have slammed city officials for taking a heavy-handed approach to a substance which will be legalized by next spring, Saunders said that police are only interested in going after people who are making money off a still illegal substance.
“This investigation has nothing to do with personal use and everything to do with the people who are entering into this for the sole purpose of making money,” he said.