Two downtown marijuana dispensaries reopen after Thursday’s raids

Two of four marijuana dispensaries in the city’s downtown core have reopened the day after 23 people were arrested by police during raids as part of Project Claudia.

Toronto police said search warrants were executed at two Canna Clinic locations and two Cannabis Culture locations on Thursday.

By Friday, both Cannabis Culture’s Queen Street West location and Canna Clinic’s Kensington Market location had reopened.

Marijuana activist Marc Emery, better known as ‘the Prince of Pot’, spoke to the media outside Cannabis Culture, which he owns with his wife Jodie, before the doors reopened.

“This is (what) legalization should look like,” he said. “Any other version is not legalization and both the city of Toronto police department and the federal government are telling us that this won’t be permitted in the legal regime.”

“I’m here to say that we are determined to make it a reality and that I’m willing to go to jail and I will be selling marijuana today and all next week I’ll be here and we hope to stay open as long as possible,” he continued.

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Emery insists that the store will continue to reopen every time it is raided by police, and added that they are even looking into opening more franchises around the city.

“Hundreds of thousands of Torontonians want to shop at these shops and I think they’re voting with their feet and their dollars and we intend to support them,” he said. “The public wants us, the citizens want us, we don’t get any complaints from people, and so we plan to continue to open as often as possible whenever we get arrested.”

On Thursday, Toronto police Chief Mark Saunders defended the continuing raids on the city’s pot dispensaries.

“It’s illegal to sell marijuana unless you have a license given to you by Health Canada,” Saunders explained. “I’ve never minced my words on this, so this is no shock to anybody. I said that the investigation would continue and this is the result of what I said.”

Around $290,000 worth of pot, hashish and hash oil was seized during the raids, along with $30,000 in proceeds.

A letter was sent to Cannabis Culture from police on Wednesday saying the store was operating against regulations and that investigations were possible.

“Given that it was just one day of notice, we didn’t have much time to respond. But accordingly we did reduce the amount of stock on hand because we don’t want anyone to be charged. We don’t want anyone to be arrested,” Jodie Emery said in the hours following the raids. “That’s the whole purpose of this peaceful, civil disobedience.”

Last month Toronto police raided 43 marijuana dispensaries across the city, charging people for trafficking non-medical marijuana.

Among the dispensaries which were raided:

  • 600 Church St.
  • Eden Medicinal Society (Queen Street location)
  • Cannabis Connoisseur
  • The Green Room (Spadina and Nassau)
  • Weed, Glass and Gifts
  • Cannawide in Kensington Market


Ninety people were arrested and close to 200 charges were laid in connection with the raids, including 71 criminal charges.

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