Toronto went to great lengths to shut down illegal cannabis stores a few years ago, but now that the city is full of cannabis stores, a few unlicensed places continue to thrive.
In an attempt to stop the activity of illegal dispensaries, the city installed huge cement blocks in front of the entrances in 2019.
This did not stop Cannabis And Fine Edibles (CAFE) which continued to sell products outside the store.
The blocks were eventually removed and some of the unlicensed stores continue to operate, including CAFE. The people’s dispensary even started a petition to keep it open.
“Marijuana is legal. Why spend taxpayers’ money trying to shut down a business that is for the people? CAFE is for the people,” wrote one signer. “The government is just trying to make money from people who really need their supplies.”
The petition has almost reached 5,000 signatures, but CAFE seems to have remained open anyway.
They list four locations on their website: 1321 St. Clair Avenue West, 932 Bloor Street West, 66 Fort York Boulevard, and 104 Harbord Street.
CAFE did not respond to blogTO’s requests for comment.
The Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario (AGCO), which licenses cannabis stores in Ontario, has confirmed that none of the locations are licensed to open.
“These locations have not gone through the due diligence and eligibility process to obtain an AGCO Retail Operator License (ROL) and Retail Store Authorization (RSA),” AGCO said.
The City of Toronto and Toronto Police continue to take enforcement action against illegal cannabis storefronts, a City of Toronto spokesperson told blogTO.
“This includes conducting investigations, issuing closure orders, banning entry to premises, making seizures and search warrants, and laying charges.”
The city has brought numerous charges against the owners and operators of CAFEs, the spokesperson said.
Because the case against CAFE is before the courts, the city cannot provide more information.
But they said charges under the Cannabis Control Act could total up to $ 250,000 and operators could face jail time of two years less a day.
Companies can be billed a minimum of $ 25,000 and up to $ 1 million. Following a fine, the justice of the peace can also issue an order to close a property for up to two years, which means that the property cannot be leased to another individual or to another. business.
Charges under the Cannabis Control Act are considered a provincial offense.
Cannabis store operators who have been fined are also no longer eligible to apply for a legal cannabis retail license under the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario.
CAFE opened its first location in Toronto’s CityPlace neighborhood in 2016, before expanding to four stores in the city.
Jon Galvano, the channel’s co-founder, died in Mexico in May. Galvano co-founded the company alongside longtime friend Wesley Weber, according to CBC. Weber was “one of the most notorious forgers in Canada,” according to a Bank of Canada report.