Pubdate: Thu, 08 Feb 2018
Source: Globe and Mail (Canada)
Copyright: 2018 The Globe and Mail Company
Author: Jacquie Miller
Page: A4


Ontario's attorney general has warned that illegal marijuana
dispensaries will be closed across the province, but potpreneurs in
Ottawa don't seem to be getting the message.

At least 19 pot shops are still operating in the city, with a couple
opening in the past few weeks.

At one of the new stores, Cannada's Culture on Baseline Road, plans
are afoot to open a lounge, too, where consumers could smoke or vape

One of the rooms inside is reserved for the lounge, but it's unclear
when it will open, said Leanne Wilson. She was working behind a desk
in the lobby, screening a steady stream of customers to make sure they
were 19 and followed the security rules before entering the locked
room where the cannabis is stored. "Cellphones in pocket, ( ball) caps
on backwards, please," she called out.

Wilson said she's a volunteer and doesn't know who owns the store.
It's busy because it's the only dispensary in the west end of Ottawa,
she said, and because it's a stone's throw from Algonquin College.

Since it opened in January, police have visited Cannada's Culture only
once, said Wilson - after a disruptive customer who had been asked to
leave phoned 911 to complain he wasn't being allowed to shop at the
illegal store.

Ottawa police have conducted multiple raids on dispensaries, but many
just reopen and new ones pop up.

Another new store, Cannabis Nature on Somerset Street West in
Chinatown, features a crude takeout window carved out of the drywall.
It also offers home delivery for $5.

When the 25-year-old clerk on duty was asked whether police had been
by, he looked surprised. "Why would they?" The man said he didn't
realize the shop was operating illegally.

"I thought marijuana was legal already. I've seen so many shops
everywhere, and I've seen so many people smoking it outside."

The clerk said he heard about the job through a friend. He decided to
take time off from studying to finish Grade 12 at the nearby adult
high school to earn some money. He said he's paid $9 an hour, cash.
The minimum wage is $14.

The clerk referred questions to another man he thought might be the
manager. That man, in a brief telephone conversation before he said he
had to go and hung up, said he was not the manager, but had been hired
to work at the shop by a "Caucasian man in his 40s" who said he was
the owner but did not give employees his name.

On Preston Street, the popular GreenTree dispensary closed weeks ago,
but appears to be getting ready to reopen under another name. There's
a new sign on the building saying "CannaLife," and renovations are
underway inside.
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