Premier Kathleen Wynne’s plan for regulating the sale of marijuana through the Liquor Control Board of Ontario poses obvious difficulties for independent, private pot shops, like Eden Medicinal Society on Bayview Avenue.
But whether Eden will comply with the new rules and close up shop or will fight to stay open appears unclear.
The store itself has given mixed signals.
Two visits to the store by Streeter to interview the proprietors have brought promises the owners would call back.
Staff at the store in mid-September, after Wynne’s announcement, would say only that they would fight the decision and try to stay open to serve their customers.
They referred all further questions to the owners.
However, the owners failed to call back.
Shortly afterwards, the store locked its doors and posted a letter to its clientele, dated Sept. 22, on the front door. The letter warned Eden would be closed “until further notice.”
The warning was given “as an extended courtesy by the police division who will be following through on warnings up until legislation is in effect,” according to the letter.
“We must follow the warnings of the City/Law and not put our employees or clients at an abnormal risk until this warning has been cleared,” the letter said.
Within a few days, the sign came down, Eden reopened and it was doing business again.
When Streeter visited the store, staff would allow only one photo to be taken inside the shop — of the counter on which was fixed a poster offering help for opiate addiction.
Compared to moonshiners
Ward 26 councillor Jon Burnside has been a vocal opponent of marijuana dispensaries and last year called for Eden to be shut down. (It was later raided by police.)
He said he is happy with Wynne’s decision not to give cannabis sales to the private shops. “The last thing I’d want to do is reward bad behaviour,” he said.
He compared pot shops hoping to continue selling marijuana after the new legislation takes effect to “moonshiners wanting to sell alcohol — good luck!”
However, he did not foresee taking any further action against the local shops.
“There’s nothing I can do,” he said. “I can’t direct the police what to do.”
Besides it’s too time-consuming and he preferred to spend time on other local issues, he said.
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