Second round of pot shop raids as police descend on city dispensaries
Thursday's raids follow 90 pot-related arrests in May
Toronto police descended on marijuana dispensaries in a second round of raids across the city Thursday.
CBC News has confirmed police visited at least two locations in the raids: Queen Street West dispensary Cannabis Culture and Canna Clinic in the Yonge and Eglinton area Thursday, but at a news conference Thursday afternoon, police chief Mark Saunders said he believed search warrants were executed at four locations.
RAID ALERT!!! Just heard Toronto Police are raiding our <a href="https://twitter.com/CannabisCulture">@cannabisculture</a> Toronto shop at 801 Queen St. West <a href="https://twitter.com/TorontoPolice">@TorontoPolice</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/Toronto?src=hash">#Toronto</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/TOpoli?src=hash">#TOpoli</a>—@JodieEmery
Alex Morris is a regular customer at Cannabis Culture, which is run by pro-pot activists Marc and Jody Emery. He arrived at the dispensary about five minutes after an undercover officer showed up there, he told CBC News.
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Morris says he was just about to go inside when a man told him, "You don't want to go in there."
When he asked who the man was, Morris says he replied, "It doesn't matter who I am."
Police said little about the raids, which caught owners and customers off-guard Thursday. There's no word yet on whether any arrests have been made.
Toronto police spokesperson Mark Pugash told CBC News only that "a number of search warrants for medical marijuana dispensaries had been executed today."
But Saunders said they shouldn't come as a surprise.
"We're going to continue. If you have dispensaries and they're open, your chances of going to court and being charged and being convicted, I strongly recommend that you stop," the chief said Thursday.
In May, police raided 43 such dispensaries, arresting 90 people and laying a total of 186 charges. Police also seized 269 kilograms of dried marijuana in those raids, along with a large quantity of cookies and other marijuana edibles.
"It's not going to go away tomorrow. All they're doing is kind of pushing it back underground," Canna Clinic customer Bernie Fisher said.
"If this closes down, they're going to open up another one. Or there's always Craigslist."