On this week’s WeedWeek Podcast, Alex, Donny, and I discussed attempts last month by Toronto authorities to shut down plucky illicit dispensaries by blocking their doors and windows with stacks of 4,000-pound concrete blocks. This week, authorities brought the blocks back with a vengeance.
- After initially not doing so during their raid on CAFE|Harbord last week due to low-hanging wires, the city and police installed the blocks this week. Then they went after CAFE’s other three locations and repeated the tactic. Twitter
- At CAFE’s Fort York boulevard location, police and bylaw enforcers apparently neglected to make certain the building was empty and trapped a sleeping man inside an upstairs bedroom.
- Bylaw officers claimed the man was not sleeping, but had in fact broken into the shop after it had been raided. Firefighters returned to remove the concrete blocks and also to open the front door, which had been bolted shut.
- The concrete blocks now have their own Twitter account.
The day after the concrete blocks were installed, CAFE’s Harbord-Street location hired a crane to remove them, removing blocks from in front of the door, while decorating remaining blocks with photos of their patio.
- Industry lawyer Harrison Jordan noted, “Individuals entering any CAFE location that has been closed could be subject to a charge under s. 18(3.1) of the Cannabis Control Act, a $100,000 fine and 1 year of prison. That’s where enforcement could go next.”
- To date, 70 charges have been laid against CAFE, who said in a statement that their dispensaries are necessary because REC retail in Ontario has been inadequate.
Globe and Mail
While the ownership structure of CAFE is obscure, the chain is owned by two partners, one of whom is a former wrestling champ who drives a Lamborghini. He described himself on Instagram as, “I ain’t as famous as Dan Bilzerian, but I’m trying.”
CBC Toronto, Twitter
- CAFE’s other partner keeps a low profile, perhaps partly because of his criminal record for fraud, forgery, and counterfeiting.
- Organigram VP Public Affairs Cameron Bishop railed against the scofflaws, saying, “The boldness [with] which the owners of CAFE continue to flout the law is astounding. Enforcement needs to be stepped up, products seized and tested and the owners charged. Unbelievable that this continues. […] We can’t pick and choose which laws we follow.”
- Facing Twitter criticisms, Bishop deleted the original post and apologized.Twitter
- Police in Dartmouth, NS raided the Atlantic Compassion Club for the second time in two weeks, charging five.
- An Edmonton social group hopes to attract professionals who like to get stoned together and make social outings.
- Threats of $700 fines didn’t keep people from smoking grass at the Winnipeg Folk Festival.
- In the US, celebrities like Jay Z and Wiz Khalifia have joined the cannabis industry, following in the path of Snoop Dogg and Willie Nelson. Canada’s tight advertising and sponsorship rules for cannabis make it all but impossible for Canadian LPs to profit from celebrity, however.