In the aftermath of the Project Claudia raids in Toronto, one LP CEO is saying that their lobbying efforts had nothing to do with the dispensary crackdown. Bruce Linton, CEO of Canopy Growth, says that the accusation of the LPs pressuring Toronto to crack down on dispensaries is just a conspiracy theory. “We have no capacity to cause anybody to shut anything down; in fact, I don’t even think we’ve been particularly vocal. I’ve had a number of calls about the conspiracy (theory). I do not have such power,” he says.
Many cannabis activists, such as Jodie Emery, are adamant that the LP used their political influence to shut down their competition. “This is about protecting the corporate profits of stock-market businesses who have sent police to arrest people to protect their own financial interest,” Emery said at the news conference held right after the Project Claudia raids happened.
Another LP CEO, Neil Closner of MedReleaf, did admit that seeing the dispensaries getting raided did not disappoint him, “but we were not directly involved in making that happen.” He says this in spite of the fact that the Toronto Lobbyist Registry showing MedReleaf Corp. retaining the consulting services with CCSGroup for beginning on May 12, 2016. Closner maintains that his company had no connection to the city of Toronto. “I could easily make the case that the only reason they got shut down was because they opened too many too quickly. If they had been more reserved in their push, more pragmatic, where they were locating, and self-policed a little bit better, they would probably all still be around.” he says.
We recently covered Cam Battley’s comments on his organization’s “warnings” to the Toronto government about the rise in private dispensaries. In spite of Linton and Closner’s comments, it is already known that the LPs did use political pressure to keep their competition out.