Back in May 2016, Toronto Police Service in partnership with the Municipal Licensing and Standards Division raided dozens of illegal dispensaries operating in the GTA.
Now in a new release provided by the City of Toronto, we’ve learned that the enforcement efforts have led to fines laid by courts towards employees and owners from six GTA marijuana dispensaries:
Following guilty pleas and convictions, the Ontario Court of Justice has imposed sentences of between $1,000 for an employee and $4,000 for a dispensary owner. In addition, the Courts have imposed Prohibition Orders under the Planning Act and the City of Toronto Act, Probation Orders under the Provincial Offences Act, and Closing Orders under the City of Toronto Act.
The Closing Order means that the property location is immediately closed “for any business use involving the sale of any form of edible marijuana foodstuffs intended for human consumption” for up to two years.
The affected dispensaries and fines are as follows:
- An employee at Weemedical Dispensary (568 St Clair Avenue West), a franchise from B.C., has been fined $550.00 in addition to a probation order.
- An employee at Tweeder (353 Eglinton Avenue West), fined $750.00 in addition to prohibition and probation orders.
- The owner of 416 Medicinal Health (850 King Street West), fined $1500 in addition to a closure order and $2500 in addition to a prohibition order.
- An employee at The Scarborough Dispensary (1260 Kennedy Road), fined $1000 in addition to a prohibition order.
- The owner of UP! Café (1792 Eglinton Avenue West) fined $2500.00 in addition to a prohibition order.
- An employee at York Dispensary (1478 Eglinton Avenue West), fined $850.00.
These amounts do not include the provincial victim fine surcharge, meaning that the fines will have an additional 25% in victim fine surcharge added.
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While these fines are designed to deter repeat offences, it appears that their effectiveness is questionable. Tweeder, for instance, reopened following the arrest only to make headlines again when an explosion blew out the windows of the storefront months later in August.
Ottawa is expected to legalize marijuana for recreational use next year. Meanwhile, The City of Toronto “continues to investigate and take enforcement action against owners, operators and employees of these illegal marijuana dispensaries, as well as property owners where the dispensaries are located”.
Currently, there are 210 charges before the courts.