Illegal pot shops slam city's 'reckless' behaviour as police return with more cement blocks
Sean Davidson, CTV News Toronto
Published Friday, July 19, 2019 4:30PM EDT
Last Updated Friday, July 19, 2019 5:39PM EDT
The unlicensed cannabis shops closed in raids by police say the ongoing effort to shut them down is “embarrassing.”
Over the past week, Toronto police and bylaw officers from the city’s Municipal Licensing and Standards division have been conducting enforcement raids at the four weed shops that operate under the “CAFE” brand.
Earlier this week, police took the dramatic step of completely blocking the storefronts with cement blocks.
Bylaw officers installed cement blocks outside a CAFE location earlier this week.
Within a day, CAFE owners removed the blocks at the Harbord Street location, and reopened.
But today, the back-and-forth battle continues, with bylaw enforcement officers putting back the concrete blocks that had been removed.
“Yesterday, we witnessed a vigilante interpretation of flawed legislation,” a statement released from CAFE said.
“This behaviour is reckless and embarrassing.”
“If one wishes to control the sale of cannabis, this is not the way.”
Officals have unsuccessfully tried to close CAFE in the past.
In a statement to CTV News Toronto, city officials confirmed they have shut down these storefront operations before and they have laid more than 70 charges against the owners and operators of CAFE since last November.
City officials have also tried unsuccessfully to physically close the shops in previous visits.
According to Mark Sraga, the MLS Director of Investigation Services, those attempts have included “changing the locks and other locking mechanisms on the doors”.
Sraga says they didn’t work because employees broke into the shops and continued operating.
“So now we've taken the next step in our enforcement authorities and we've put in hopefully a more permanent solution to stopping them from selling illegally.”
City officials say they are still in the process of reviewing their findings from these latest raids and have yet to decide on any further charges.