In a show of power that can only be described as classically Trumpian, the City of Toronto has decided to build a wall between it and several unlicensed cannabis dispensaries.
Many Canadian city officials are currently scratching their heads on how to halt rebellious unsanctioned cannabis shops refusing to shut down or simply reopening post-raid. Toronto has turned to an unconventional method: cement bricks—big ones. By barricading the doors and windows, officials are attempting to physically block employees and owners from reentering their premises to sell product.
After Bill C-45, the Cannabis Act, came into effect last October, individual provinces and territories were tasked with drafting a new retail framework for pot shops. Initially, Ontario opted for a government monopoly, announcing it would only issue licences to the provincially owned and operated Ontario Cannabis Stores. Following industry and stakeholder pushback, however, the PC government conceded slightly, saying it would issue 25 licences to private stores via a lottery system. Any existing stores not selected in the process were subsequently deemed illegal and ordered to close.
Last week (June 4), photos emerged on Reddit of the first brick and mortal to suffer the Tetris tactic—a dispensary located at 102 St. Nicholas Street. More surfaced shortly thereafter. Redditors who posted the photos claimed it was City of Toronto bylaw officers—who were recently allotted more authority via the conservative government’s Ontario Cannabis Control Act—responsible for the delivery of the new oversized doorstoppers. Using a crane, several cement slabs were apparently unloaded from a flatbed truck and placed in front of entrances and windows.
Approximately a dozen cannabis stores still operate without a licence in Toronto—some of which have attempted to register their buildings as private residences to avoid enforcement action, to no avail.