Pubdate: Sat, 21 May 2016
Source: Toronto Star (CN ON)
Page: GT10
Copyright: 2016 The Toronto Star
Author: Betsy Powell


Sixty-four landlords have now received warning letters about renting
space to tenants selling marijuana in unlicensed storefront operations
across Toronto.

Property owners are told they have three days to shut the businesses
down or potentially face stiff fines for contravening zoning bylaws.

However, officials were cagey Friday on the timing of their next step
if their warnings are ignored.

"If we laid charges, it would be a summons to court," Tammy Robbinson,
licensing and standards division spokeswoman, wrote in an email. She
would not say if any would be served over the long weekend.

This past week, licensing executive director Tracey Cook said the
city's goal "is not just to go out and hammer people," but to ensure
compliance with city bylaws.

Cook estimated there are at least 75 marijuana dispensaries currently
operating in Toronto.

While Ottawa has promised to legalize recreational pot use, the city
says the existing law, for now, limits distribution to federally
licensed marijuana producers who grow pot exclusively for medical patients.

However, Osgoode Hall law professor Alan Young, who has successfully
challenged the constitutional validity of the federal medical
marijuana program, says the city is wrong to target legitimate pot
dispensaries. "In my opinion, dispensaries which restrict sales to
documented medical patients are not illegal and protected by the
Charter of Rights and Freedom."

Robbinson wrote that the city's position is unchanged.

Friday, Mayor John Tory said that while he asked for a crackdown, he
doesn't decide who receives warnings and had no comment on the
constitutionality of the federal law. And while he continues to
support legalization, "until that law has passed, we cannot just have
the wild west when it comes to dispensaries cropping up on every
street corner."  
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MAP posted-by: Jo-D