This Friday in Toronto began with a new twist to Mayor John Tory's self inflicted "Wild West" -another confusing shootout in our cities Not-So-OK Pot Coral! Yup! Tory's B-grade western crackdown on Toronto's pot dispensaries kicked back into high gear, with some more nefarious OD knock 'em, sock' em reefer madness! The target this time? Sadly, Cannabis Culture, a new Church St. marijuana medical/ recreational indie boutique specifically catering to Toronto's LGBTQ community!
To Wit: by 10 am Metro's finest arrived outside the shop accompanying some seemingly very suspicious and shady characters! Leading the charge were landlord's 600 Church St Limited along with their reps from Sud Group a big, well known realtor, and property management firm!
Hopefully, any scumbags present among the curious entourage have finally met their match! Thinking quick Cannabis Culture's well know Canuck marijuana activist Marc Emery immediately broadcast the highly suspicious raid live on Pot TV [HERE!]. Toronto TV news channel CP 24 [LINK!] quickly jumped on the story then breaking it live across the city for the rest of the day.
By high noon, the Toronto police officers had left. The situation was just too absurd. Is it a police job to enforce civil actions? In this case a very dubious eviction notice? Of course not! So why put "Metro's Finest" between such a disgraceful rock and hard place?!?
In solidarity, I quickly made my way downtown to Cannabis Culture's Church Street dispensary to find out more. Arriving at noon, the doors were back open again. Business booming. The dispensary packed with well wishers from Toronto's gay village and across our city arriving in mass to show their support!
Marc was quick to explain that Toronto police were always very polite, cordial and professional throughout the mysterious raid/ non raid. Certainly they weren't the problem.
Highly perplexed, Marc showed me Cannabis Culture's rental agreement. It's specifically for a marijuana dispensary!
Marc pointed out that the 600 Church St location is formerly the home of CALM, another pot dispensary who'd rented the same storefront property from the 600 Church St Limited/ Sud Group. How ironic! CALM has now advised him that they were also evicted for selling weed! So why rent to another marijuana dispensary? Then kick them too?
Get this -no refund or compensation was offered prior to or with the eviction notice! However, as we spoke, reps from the landlord/ property management firm phoned Marc hoping to make a deal. Of course, he encouraged them to go talk to Cannabis Culture's lawyers instead, to seek a way out of the highly suspicious legal mess they now find themselves in!
Cannabis Culture is certainly not in any position to abandon their new Church St outlet anytime soon. On Friday, it had only been open 8 days after a major makeover of the store front property, including some new Toronto digs upstairs for Marc, who's moved there dedicating himself round the clock to make it work.
Unfortunately for Mayor Tory, 600 Church St Limited and the Sud Group, Cannabis Cultures believes in the "power of activism". It's clearly stated in their mission statement! The Toronto gay village dispensary initiative is certainly a refreshingly progressive, counterculture approach from a social, political and economic perspective! One that often seems missing from the good fight, as we move towards legalization next year.
As Marc explained, Cannabis Culture wants to provide a comfortable, compassionate place within Toronto's gay village for their LGBTQ customers to meet and safely buy weed without the all too familiar harassment and bad vibes still often experienced outside their own business and lifestyle community. Indeed, Marc estimates that 90% of his male and 75% of his female clients are LGBTQ consumers.
Perhaps 600 Church Street Limited and the Sud Group missed the subtle rainbow freshly painted across Cannabis Culture's new store front? Poised to wipe the gay smile off everybody's faces, the eviction seems highly questionable, mean spirited and exploitative at best.
Think about it! Cannabis Culture signed a rental agreement to specifically open a marijuana dispensary. Now it turns out that another dispensary was also evicted from the same location for selling weed! What give$?!?
If neither Sud Group or Church St. Unlimited have been in close contact with the mayor's office, then Canada's big boy sellers Tweed and Tilray certainly have. There's been some pretty heavy lobbying going on! Tilray has visited the mayor's office at least three times to lobby Tory over the contentious dispensary issue. Tweed Weed at least 12 times. Oh to know what's really going on backstage in Mayor John Tory's Toronto Wild West Show! To be a fly on the wall as that ugly shit goes down at Toronto City Hall!
Currently, there aren't any municipal laws or regulations for or against Toronto dispensaries as we await legalization in 2017. Our federal and provincial court system will eventually need to try those being charged in city hall's ill advised "Whac-A- Mole"" dispensary raids somewhere long down the road.
Cody @ Cannabis Culture: "No gangsta shit or bad vibes!" Joint Roller/ Artist -Instagram # roll_with_codyvangogh
Since weed is scheduled to be legalized in Canada next year, why create a big, legal mess now? Who is really protecting who? And why?
Moreover, why is John Tory cavorting with these such seemingly very questionable landlord and property management types? To perhaps find a back door route to unduly bully, harass and shut out Cannabis Culture and Toronto's other boutique dispensaries from serving our medical and recreational marijuana wants and needs? Even more troubling: Why in this case, smack dab in the centre of our susceptible, often bullied gay community?
Cannabis Culture, like most of the Toronto dispensary movement are hardly some reckless fly by night hop head's trying to sell the devil's lettuce for quick gain. On the other hand, what is the mayor's real agenda? Or 600 Church St Limited? The Sud Group? Alas, Snoop Dogg's Tweed?
Toronto reefer madness vis a vis John Tory's 2016 Summer of Busts is certainly a call to activism for all our cities progressives and recreational/ medical pot consumers! Also perhaps the tip of some very nefarious bullying of Toronto's boutique dispensaries from the backrooms at Toronto City Hall!
Here are more Toronto news reports:
Cops show up @ Sun
Marijuana Activist faces eviction @ City
More on the landlord eviction @ Star
Canuck licensed weed producers, including Snoop Dogg's Tweed are lobbying to have our boutique dispensaries shut down @ Globe and @ Vice
Marc Emery @ Facebook and @ Twitter
Cannabis Culture @ Facebook and @ Twitter
Pot TV @ Pot TV!
MY RELATED BLOGS
Towards Legalization: the Canadian government discussion paper @ Here!
Ontario Wynne government's crackdown on pot @ On Bill 45!
Reefer Madness Canada: The Harper Era @ Bummerz!
A Visit to Bob Marley birthplace in Nine Miles Jamaica @ Hi! Hi! Hi!
Also, read my monthly Teacher Free Speech News y Views blogs! Lot's more progressive links and updates on developments in the legalization of weed in Canada can be found there!