Pubdate: Mon, 09 Jan 2017
Source: Toronto 24hours (CN ON)
Copyright: 2017 Canoe Inc.
Author: Terry Davidson
Page: 6


The "vulnerability" to robbery that medicinal pot shops face is "nothing
new," an advocate says in the wake of a violent knife-point holdup in
Toronto's west end.

Tracy Curley says dispensaries have become marks in a recent "rash" of
robberies due to their prohibited "high-value" inventory and she noted
many shops are not reporting such crimes to police for fear of being

"Almost 20 years ago, Toronto got its first medical marijuana dispensary,"
the medical marijuana advocate said. "They had an open door policy ...
They were robbed. When they reported it to police, (investigators launched
a) six-month investigation that then got them raided ... It's not
something new."

Toronto Police were called to Evergreen Medicinals on Dundas St. W., near
Roncesvalles Ave., just before 4 p.m. Friday after three masked marauders
robbed the place and stabbed an employee.

Const. Victor Kwong said the crime was reported by a next-door business.
Last Wednesday, he said, another pot shop was robbed at gunpoint but the
report to police did not come from the shop and the manager wasn't talking
to investigators. Postmedia Network also learned that Cannabis Culture on
Church Street was reportedly vandalized late last week.

Police began a crackdown on dispensaries last spring with Project Claudia,
resulting in raids on 43 shops and 90 arrests.

Curley says shops must start protecting themselves from robbery with
reinforced glass, cameras, security, reduced signage, hidden product, and
secured waiting areas where customers are kept out until proven to be

"I'm glad to see some dispensaries now have started to hire professional
security people," she said, noting it's a slow process, however. "Once we
get into legalization, it's going to be no different than a liquor store,
a pharmacy (or a) grocery store as far as security risk is concerned.

"But as long as it is prohibited and people know dispensary owners are
afraid to call police, they're going to continue to be a target."
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