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"No child of God should suffer like this" - PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP
I QUIT, PUTS IT BLUNTLY
Pot shop manager says he's had enough of raids
Forget the buzz when there is so much heat coming down from the fuzz. A law enforcement hat trick? Call it what you want but a third raid of the infamous marijuana shop at 461 Church St. Monday has proven all too much for some of the Village Cannabis Dispensary employees, including one of its managers. "This is my last shift," bewildered shop manager Mark Harrison said Wednesday. "They win.".
The sight of cops coming through the door to confiscate their marijuana and money, as well as charging staff members, is starting to work. "I just don't want to get charged," said Harrison. He's not alone. Many staff at the store originally called Cannabis Culture have also quit. The breaking point came Monday. "Police came in and took all of the product and money," said Harrison. "They also wanted to take the safe with them out the back door but we managed to get it open for them."
Still, with a fellow manager and a staffer being charged Monday, it was hitting too close to home.
Daniella Crisostomo, 21, was charged with trafficking marijuana and being in possession of the proceeds of crime under $5000. She has a court date to be fingerprinted just 15 months before pot becomes legal.
"It's just not worth it," said Harrison. Ironically, however, despite the effort for force the closure, the store's business is booming - up to 2,000 customers a day. But the writing is on the wall. The marijuana industrial complex does not want shops like this to exist as Canada heads toward pot legalization in July 2018. Staff is gearing up for what they believe will be another raid on April 18, just two days before the annual 4/20 pot freedom day.
Time will tell what Ontario's model will look like after legalization, but the idea of all the pot being grown and marketed by either big business or through government stores is not sitting well with marijuana enthusiasts.
What should happen is the development of a craft industry - like what has happened with breweries and wineries - which would allow people like Marc and Jodie Emery to have at least a small piece of what they have been fighting for.
And people like Harrison. One idea being floated is the creation of a Cannabis Control Board that will act as custodian of all legal marijuana in Ontario. "It makes sense because this has got to be done safely and priced appropriately in the interest of the health of Ontarians and to ensure it keeps the black market from prospering," said OPSEU President Smokey Thomas.
They could also put 80 "mom and pop" pot shop licences up for grabs in a lottery that would service craft markets to avoid the appearance of Liberal friends feasting on what in essence is a monopoly. Harrison believes all of this will happen.
"I would like to get one of those. I want to be legitimate," he said. "The government will vet the people applying for those very closely and you will have to be as clean as a whistle," He survived three raids at his store but is not sticking around for the fourth (24 HOURS TORONTO, Friday, April 7, 2017).
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