Stop Raiding our Dispensaries!
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On March 9, 2017, Toronto Police Services, Hamilton Police Services and the Vancouver Police Department participated in ‘Project Gator’, which included 7 co-ordinated raids against Cannabis Culture stores across Canada. They ripped art off the walls, tore apart personal lockers, stole equipment and seized a total of 62kg of Cannabis and $250,000 cash. The Canada-wide raids follow 2016’s larger ‘Project Claudia’ seizures and arrests, resulting in 279kg Cannabis removed from the Toronto market, as well as countless smaller arrests and seizures across Canada.
The Toronto Police Service’s fixation on Cannabis dispensaries is wasteful and disturbing. Unlike real organized crime, which contributes to shootings and overdoses, dispensaries are open about their illegal activity and therefore much easier to investigate. By devoting thousands of hours and millions of dollars prosecuting dispensaries, resources are diverted from meaningful police operations toward violent crime and the distribution of deadly drugs like Fentanyl.
Dispensaries meet an essential need which cannot be fulfilled by Licensed Producers. They provide a variety of Cannabis products not offered by LP’s, allow same-day access, and foster a small, inclusive business community which cannot exist under the MMPR system. In the wake of the Organigram scandal, it has come to light that inconsistent testing standards exist for Licensed Producers; the argument that one is safer than the other is flawed. Small businesses have the right to participate in the Cannabis market, and dispensaries ensure that everyone is included in the conversation about legalization.
This petition will be sent to Toronto’s OIPRD (Office of the Independent Police Review Director) and the Civilian Review and Complaints Commission for the RCMP; formally complaining about Project Gator, calling for more transparency about Project Claudia and all previous raids, and demanding an end to wasteful spending by the RCMP, and TPS in particular by continuing to pursue Cannabis-related offences.
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