Toronto To Begin Fining Dispensaries By End of Month

After promising action against the city’s growing cannabis dispensary industry, Toronto city officials are poised to begin fining the unlicensed businesses by the end of May.

Toronto director of licensing and standards Mark Sraga said the city’s goal is to shut the dispensaries down, using the zoning bylaw infraction fines to do so, with fines as high as $50,000 for corporations or $25,000 for individuals found in violation.

“There may be a couple of business owners that realize that the ramifications of continuing on are not worth the penalties they may face, so there may be a few [that shut down],” said Sraga. “But I just don’t see the majority of them [shutting down] based upon the blatant disregard for the rules as it is now.”

Sraga said, despite what operators may say, there’s no grey area for dispensaries to operate in the city as Toronto’s bylaws don’t allow for them — only including provisions for licensed medical producers the ability to work in industrial areas.

Toronto Hotbox dispensary operator Abi Roach said the city needs to accept dispensaries in the city and discouraged them from trying to use fines to shut the businesses down.

“Do they close down everything and bring back everything to the black market and close down businesses that are employing people and collecting taxes?” Roach said. “Or keep collecting the taxes and keep keep collecting your licensing fees and make it legitimate, instead of trying to fight something that’s inevitable?”