City putting pressure on landlords in fight against marijuana dispensaries

Owners hit with fines, threat of jail time.

Bylaw enforcement officers are leaning on Toronto landlords in an effort to force more marijuana dispensaries to close up shop, according to CBC.

Toronto police laid nearly 200 charges as a result of its Project Claudia raids in May of 2016 and the city has levied nearly 350 charges in efforts to crack down on pot retailers since, citing zoning bylaws that only allow three locations in Toronto to sell marijuana products.

Now, pressure is being put on landlords to keep pot retailers out of their buildings.

“The people who were raided and re-opened now have to fight their landlords to keep their legal leases,” HotBox pot lounge owner Abi Roach told CBC. “Finding a landlord who’ll rent out a space is near impossible.”

The CBC investigation identifies 43 dispensaries still operating in Toronto. Owners have been hit with fines ranging from $550 to $3,000, while additional fines and the threat of 30 days in jail loom for violating prohibition orders.

“Landlords are receiving letters from city bylaw officers … that indicate their property could be at risk of forfeiture” for renting to dispensary owners, lawyer Kendra Stanyon told CBC.

The legalization of pot in Canada is seemingly on the horizon, but dispensary owners are facing a stiff battle to remain open.

Image via Blind Nomad/Flickr