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Tory says explosion of marijuana shops in city "out of control"

Last Updated May 6, 2016 at 7:48 pm EDT

Toronto mayor John Tory says the explosion of marijuana dispensaries across the city is “verging on being out of control.”

Tory says he spoke with former Toronto police chief Bill Blair, who is the government’s point person on the legalization of pot about this very issue 10 days ago.

“This thing is verging on being out of control in some neighbourhoods,” said Tory. ” I don’t think it is sustainable to have 20, 21, 31 medical marijuana dispensaries.”

“I think the change in the law is probably something that is overdue. But I think you have to do these things in an orderly way… and if somebody else doesn’t act we’ll have to take a look at what we might do.”

The Canadian Association of Medical Cannabis Dispensaries estimates there are at least 350 storefront marijuana dispensaries in Canada, with as many as 80 operating in Toronto alone in the past few months – 30 or so operating underground.

Opponents say the storefront dispensaries are technically illegal and should be closed immediately.

Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne says cities and provinces remain confused over what to do with those pot shops because Ottawa has yet to clarify rules between recreational and medicinal marijuana.

“That clarification hasn’t happened and I think there is some blurring of the line,” she said. “We’re a bit in the weeds.

“But I do think that as the federal government gets its legislation and its protocols in place, it will be clearer what then the provinces need to follow through with.”

In the meantime, Adam Vaughan, the Liberal MP for Spadina-Fort York, says illegal operations should be dealt with by the city. He also had some advice for those currently running such operations ahead of the federal law change.

“For those people that are advocates, it’s critically important in this transition period to show some maturity and to show some discipline,” said Vaughan.

“Think about getting to that finish line as opposed to taking advantage of what you perceive to be a transition period.”

Related stories:

Let pharmacies sell medical marijuana says Loblaws president Galen G. Weston

East Coast organic marijuana producer ramps up to serve vast legalized market

Despite current laws marijuana dispensaries popping up all over Toronto

Files from The Canadian Press were used in this report