The Toronto Star reports that local authorities have had their fill of the city’s lack of regulations and are hatching a process to deal with unlicensed premises whilst at the same time forcing the city to make regulatory decisions..
City and law enforcement officials are in the midst of a wide-scale investigation into the dozens of unlicensed marijuana outlets that have exploded around Toronto.
That could include Toronto police charging operators with drug trafficking, Sraga said.
The city’s new pot entrepreneurs could also be hit with operating without a business licence or contravening zoning bylaws; the latter carries a maximum penalty of $50,000 for a corporation and $25,000 for an individual.
“The fashion in which they’re operating, they know they’re outside the law they can purport to say that it’s a grey area or legal, no,” said Sraga.
On Thursday, Mayor John Tory sent a letter to Tracey Cook, licensing’s executive director, asking her to direct staff to explore ways of regulating those businesses.
Vancouver and Victoria have introduced licensing fees and regulations that control pot shops’ proximity to schools, community centres and other dispensaries. In the meantime, Tory also asked Cook to work with the police to use “whatever enforcement mechanisms are currently available.
“We just can’t have allegedly medical marijuana dispensaries popping up on every street corner, in a completely unregulated manner,” pending the federal promise to legalize pot, Tory said.
Medical marijuana is currently only legally available for those with a prescription. They receive shipments in the mail from Health Canada-approved producers.
The federal government plans to legalize possession of pot for recreational use, though there is no firm timetable. The mayor expressed skepticism that the proliferation of pot shops here is due to “a massive increase in the number of bona fide prescriptions being issued.”
In his letter, Tory said the “speed with which these storefronts are proliferating, and the concentration of dispensaries in some areas of our city, is alarming.”
Sraga said officials are also worried about the ingredients contained in edible marijuana products that many outlets are selling.
“There is a health and safety concern where people are perhaps purchasing and ingesting products that they have no way of knowing the quality of what they are in fact consuming.”
Sraga said he expects to announce results of the city’s investigation in about two weeks.