EXCLUSIVE: Province to close ‘residential loophole’ for pot shops

By Quintin Bignell, Cynthia Mulligan and News Staff

The Ford government will table legislation Thursday, making it easier for city officials to shut down the remaining illegal pot shops in Toronto, CityNews has learned.

Last month, bylaw officials installed heavy metal doors at dispensary locations that repeatedly reopened after being raided multiple times.

However, their work was hindered by a legal loophole that prohibits the city from shutting down retail spaces that are also used as a residence. It forced bylaw officers to remove the metal doors because the shop’s operators allegedly lived in the buildings and grant them access to the illegal stores, despite being shut down.

Sources confirm exclusively to CityNews that the provincial government is working to close what they call the “residential loophole” for pot shops — recently used by the operators of Cafe to retain access to some of their locations closed by the city.

The Tories will amend existing cannabis legislation to close the loophole and further, make it an offence to reopen after a store has been shut down, with additional fines for doing so.

The bill is expected to pass by the end of this legislative session in June and will come into effect thereafter.

Related stories:

Officials install metal door during raid of illegal pot shop in CityPlace

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