Toronto, ON – The Toronto Taxpayers Coalition stands united with concerned stakeholders in supporting an end to the crackdown of marijuana dispensaries in Toronto.
We learned last week that Mayor John Tory directed the Licensing and Standards Committee to request that city staff report on how the city could license and regulate marijuana dispensaries. The Mayor took this a step further and demanded city staff and police crack down on dispensaries and target their landlords with significant fines up to $50,000.
This crackdown on marijuana dispensaries in Toronto costs taxpayers more money and is disrespectful to thousands of taxpayers who are losing access to essential safe spaces for medicinal marijuana.
It will cost the city thousands of dollars to produce a premature report when the city should be waiting for the federal government’s promised legislation to legalize marijuana, expected later this year. “The shutdown of dispensaries exposes the city to significant financial liability,” said Toronto Taxpayers Coalition president, Andrea Micieli. Current regulations being used to justify this have been ruled unconstitutional by a Federal Court decision. And yet, Toronto Police have been given a make-work project to hand deliver notices to landlords and dispensaries.
“Taxpayers are footing the bill for enforcement and possible legal challenges through the court. Instead of allocating resources to shut down dispensaries, the City should think outside the box and focus on creating a revenue stream through the eventual sale of marijuana,” continues Micieli.
The Toronto Taxpayers Coalition calls on the city to cease all active enforcement. Medical marijuana is a Health Canada recognized medicine. Thousands of vulnerable taxpayers, including senior citizens and veterans, rely on storefront dispensaries as an accessible alternative to mail-order medicinal marijuana and healthcare system waitlists.
“We understand Mayor Tory faces the burden of intense lobbying from big pharmaceutical companies hoping for control of medicinal marijuana distribution. We hope the Mayor chooses to prioritize the health of vulnerable taxpayers before the wallets of lobbyists, and stops the use of city resources to enforce unconstitutional regulations” concludes Micieli.