Raided Toronto Dispensaries Have First Day in Court

Over a dozen dispensary owners, staff and landlords made their first appearance in court in Toronto today, on charges of violating the city’s bylaws rules that restrict cannabis businesses.

The majority received disclosure of their cases and a requirement to return in August for trial, where they face a maximum fine of $25,000 for individuals and $50,000 for corporations.

“We don’t know where it’s going to go from here, if the dispensaries are going to be allowed to stay open or (pot sales) will be monopolized by the (federally) licensed producers,” said Mercedes Carter from Green Rhino Medicinal Cannabis

Carter, unlike many others, isn’t facing trafficking charges because the business took steps a week before the raid to remove cannabis products from the shop.

Court appearances for those with criminal charges will begin next month.

A landlord who appeared in court said she hoped the federal government’s legalization plans will mean she isn’t convicted and will continue to be able to rent her building to dispensaries.

“These (marijuana) guys pay. It’s very difficult to rent in that area. I thought it (storefront medical marijuana distribution) was legal,” the landlord said.

After 43 dispensaries were raided in what police dubbed “Project Claudia,” authorities handed out a variety of charges to 90 people, many of whom were staff in the shops.

The charges “seem to have been served to anyone that was on the premises, whether or not they were an owner,” Lawyer Paul Voinea said.