420 Toronto still a go, future of local dispensaries uncertain

Despite recent actions by the Toronto Police Service to crack down on Cannabis Culture outlets both at home and way beyond their jurisdiction, 420 Toronto 2017 is going ahead as planned.

Organizer Chris Goodwin, who along with his wife Erin was among the five people arrested last Thursday and now facing numerous charges, said the April 20 gathering at Yonge-Dundas Square hasn’t been sidelined by the heavy-handedness.

420 Toronto 2017 has not been effected by the CC raids,” said Goodwin. “420 has been paid for. Although it may hurt my desire to pay for extras.”

Goodwin himself is scheduled to kick off the day with a speech starting at noon followed by a number of live acts – including Dylan Hennessy, Must Stash Hat and the Killin’ Time Band – and speakers such as Mike Rita and Marc Emery.

Emery, who along with his own wife Jodie were also arrested as part of the Project Gator raids, will be headed to court the following day (April 21) to face a battery of charges.

“Jodie and I can no longer be involved with Cannabis Culture stores or the brand, despite it being the culmination of 24 years of hard work and struggle,” Emery wrote on Facebook on Friday from an internet cafe after cops took away their phones and computers. “You won’t find me at any Cannabis Culture stores, or any dispensary, for that matter. Our livelihood, our brand, our money, our inventories all gone!”

The couple, who are forbidden to leave Ontario as part of their bail conditions, were also given two weeks to remove themselves from the daily operation of their business empire or risk violating the terms of their release and get sent back to jail.

Cops claim to have seized more than 65 kilos of cannabis and 2.4 kilos of concentrates, as well as more than $250,000 in cash.

The same day the five were arrested, federal Health Minister Jane Philpott promised new legislation on recreational pot is planned within the next three months.

“We made a commitment last April that we would introduce legislation in the spring of 2017,” she told reporters last week. “I know spring is around the corner and spring runs until June 21, and we are firm in our commitment to having that legislation in place.”

Some Cannabis Culture locations, including one at 416 Church St., have already changed hands. The Gay Village storefront is now called Village Cannabis Dispensary under new manager Jamie McConnell.