City of Toronto Sees Nearly 90% Reduction in Illegal Cannabis Stores Since Legalization – Staff Recommends Opting In to Legal Cannabis Stores

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In a report released late last week to Toronto City Council, City Staff have recommended that the City of Toronto opt-in to allowing cannabis retail stores within the city.  The same report also notes a nearly 90% reduction in illegal cannabis stores operating within the city since October 17, 2018.

The report notes that provincial licensing is intended to ensure that operators conduct their business in a responsible and accountable manner, and would support the goals of preventing youth from accessing cannabis and eliminating the illegal cannabis market.

The report further notes that by prohibiting retail stores in Toronto it would limit Toronto residents’ access to legal and government-regulated recreational cannabis and would have the unintended consequence of encouraging the illegal market to continue to operate, either through storefronts selling illegal products or by driving illegal cannabis sales underground.

The City Manager has recommended that City Council authorize the City Manager to negotiate and enter into any required agreements to receive intergovernmental funding for implementation of cannabis legalization, with terms and conditions satisfactory to the City’s CFO and the City Solicitor.

Interestingly, the report provides an update on the crackdown of illegal cannabis storefronts in the city.  It notes that 92 illegal storefronts were identified as operating on October 16, 2018 and that on October 17, 2018, 56 of those 92 storefronts were noted as no longer being operation.  The city estimates that as at November 27, 2018 only 11 storefronts continued to operate illegally.

Keep checking back here for more details on municipal opt-outs (and opt-ins) as they happen.

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