The first legal outlets — government-owned Ontario Cannabis Stores — are not set to open in the province until April.
But police have stepped up raids on illegal cannabis dispensaries.
Raids across #Toronto today.— Jodie Emery (@JodieEmery) 19 October 2018
Dispensaries do no harm. Raids cost millions of tax dollars, cut off access to cannabis & free choice, and harm peaceful consumers & providers.
Why not #legalize what already exists? Why punish and exclude? Why not regulate them like AirBnB & Uber? https://t.co/WRaQz84II5
Constable Amy Gagnon, of the Ontario Provincial Police (OPP), told reporters they had charged six people and seized cannabis from both shops.
The three men and three women were charged under Ontario's Cannabis Act, which actually legalizes the sale of cannabis, but only under certain conditions.
Wait Until April to Buy Weed
Ontario has agreed to allow marijuana to be sold online but says new official cannabis stores will not be ready to open until April.
Critics say customers have been waiting for weeks for cannabis which they have bought online.
The owners of existing cannabis dispensaries in Ontario have been told they have to close first before they can be considered for a licence to operate one of the new stores.
Five people, including long-time Windsor pot activist Leo Lucier, are the first to be charged by the Windsor Police Service under the new federal Cannabis Act. https://t.co/ixupT8jSOn pic.twitter.com/eZTF8iCYaW— The Windsor Star (@TheWindsorStar) 8 November 2018
Police also raided the Compassion House store in Windsor, near the US border, on Tuesday, November 6, arresting five people — including long-time cannabis campaigner Leo Lucier and seizing weed, money and weighing equipment.
"If they had given me a warning, I would've shut down. I waited until legalisation to open. If I'm breaking the law, somebody should tell me," Lucier told the Windsor Star newspaper.
'We Enforce The Laws'
Recreational cannabis was legalised for use by adults on October 17 but two days later the OPP raided five cannabis dispensaries in Toronto.
I picked up five new cases today. The Police really clogging up the system. What's the end goal though? Most or all of the charges ultimately gets withdrawn. There has to be a rapprochement #cannabis #marijuana #weed #cannabiscommunity #raids #TorontoPolice #CannabisAct #Toronto— Mr. Toronto Lawyer (@selwynpieters) 6 November 2018
"We enforce the laws of the land that stand at this time," said Constable Andy Drouillard.
Although the new legislation allows cannabis to be possessed and sold, it also brings in tougher penalties for those who break the law.
Lucier and his colleagues could conceivably be jailed for up to 18 months.
Ontario is too disorganized to open any cannabis shops until the spring, but they've got all the time and money they need to pay cops for endless raids on dispensaries.https://t.co/Yo6Ry3gGtb— Dana Larsen (@DanaLarsen) 20 October 2018
Several other states, like British Columbia, have already set up legal dispensaries or have legalised existing suppliers.
The Liberal Party government of Justin Trudeau — who promised to legalise cannabis when he was elected in 2015 — predicts it will raise $400m a year in tax revenues on the sale of cannabis.
More raids on dispensaries in Toronto today! Why? Supply is reported as limited in the Ontario website! People who have medical needs who aren’t able to get Cannabis over the Internet are blocked from getting what they consider to be medicine. I wonder if there’s a Charter case?— Robert Wiseman (@RobertAWiseman) 3 November 2018