The Toronto City Council was set to debate and review the city’s approach to medical cannabis and dispensaries, but the meeting was cancelled before it even began. According to CBC News, the meeting was originally supposed to take place on Monday, June 27, but was ultimately pushed back to October.
The delay in discussion was mainly due to a desire to wait until the federal government announces its revisal of cannabis regulations, which is expected to be either later this year or in spring of 2017. However, recent police raids on local dispensaries across the city also convinced councilors to delay the meeting. Back in May, medical cannabis dispensaries were targeted by the city as a result of the violated zoning laws, among other concerns. At the time, an estimated 60 dispensaries were operating in Toronto, many of which were reportedly not abiding by zoning laws. As a result, many dispensaries were threatened to be fined up to $50,000 for individuals, and $100,000 for corporations found in violation of zoning rules (albeit not for a first offense).
More recently, CBC News reported that 23 people were arrested for drug-related charges at four different cannabis dispensaries that were raided by police on Friday, June 24, the weekend prior to the planned meeting. In response to the crackdown on dispensaries, Toronto Police Chief Mark Saunders stated that he believes that those who own and operate dispensaries are doing it for monetary gain, rather than for the patients, “If they’re very concerned about the well-being of the people, then I would expect that they would look at the regulatory processes, have a standardization of how it’s being manufactured and distributed, identify what the quantity of THC is in the product and also be able to validate through quality control that is, in fact, correct.”
It seems that for now, Toronto won’t be getting much of a resolution on cannabis. However, there is hope down the line for a federal decision on the topic, as Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is expected to make a public announcement regarding federal government legislation on cannabis next spring, a promise made by Trudeau during his campaign.