It appears medical marijuana sellers in Canada are charging ahead despite recent crackdowns.
In Toronto, half of the city’s 83 known unlicensed stores have been targeted in raids and shutdowns that started May 26. Police have executed search warrants and seized products from stores they believe are selling to recreational consumers, which is still illegal.
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But as the federal government moves toward full Canada marijuana legalization slated for a spring 2017 introduction, representatives from industry associations and medical marijuana stores met to discuss how to stay operational.
At Tuesday’s meeting, which was held at a marijuana-smoking lounge and attended by about 50 people, operators whose stores were raided told the audience what to expect. A lawyer spoke about how retailers can best deal with police.
Some unlicensed stores have been accused of selling to people without proper prescriptions. Some, such as the Cannabis Culture franchise in Toronto and Vancouver, sell openly to recreational users.
The federal government, which sets laws on both recreational and medical marijuana, has given little direction to municipalities on how to deal with either. Cities have used different regulatory and enforcement methods.
Currently, only a few federally approved producers are allowed to sell medical marijuana — and only through the mail.
But the gray area among regulatory practices hasn’t stopped medical marijuana businesses from setting up shop across the country, with hundreds of stores opening over the past year. Last month, Vancouver became the first city in Canada to create a separate set of cannabis-regulating bylaws and granted its first ever business license to The Wealth Shop.
Meanwhile at Toronto’s City Hall, Reuters reported that officials were going to consider a recommendation that police proceed with “enforcement of all laws relating to marijuana-related retail businesses” on Tuesday, but the meeting has been postponed.