Toronto is resorting to giant cement blocks to keep illegal pot shops from reopening
About a dozen illegal dispensaries still operating in Toronto, city official says
CBC News Jun 07, 2019
There’s a new weapon in the city’s battle against illegal pot dispensaries: giant cement blocks.
Two photos posted to Reddit show the blocks stacked up in front of alleged cannabis dispensaries, blocking entry.
It’s the latest move to put a stop to illegal dispensaries that have been able to operate thanks in part to a legal loophole in the province’s Cannabis Control Act.
That loophole has prevented authorities from barring access to, and removing people from, suspected dispensaries that were also being used as residences.
“This has proven to be a bit more of a substantial tactic,” said Mark Sraga, the city’s director of investigation services for municipal licensing and standards.
Illegal cannabis storefronts have persisted in Toronto despite raids and attempts to bar the stores’ entryways using other means, including steel doors. Sraga estimates about a dozen are still in operation despite enforcement measures.
Bill to close loophole passes at Queen’s Park
But on Thursday, a bill aiming to close the loophole – by removing the exception around dispensaries that might also serve as residences – received royal assent, despite objections from some MPPs.
NDP MPP Jeff Burch, for example, raised concerns that a family could be expelled from their home because another relative, or even a visitor, was selling cannabis.
“We have some concerns on what this will mean for families,” he said.
“Cannabis is currently legal, and while the illegal sale of cannabis should be prohibited, giving the ability for a family to be expelled from their home because a family member –or worse, a visitor – engages in an illegal activity is unthinkable.”
“Going forward, a residential property that’s being used to sell cannabis illegally, we will also be able to doing barring of entry at those places,” said Sraga.