This surplus was then transferred to compassion clubs and modern-day dispensaries.
Initially, according to Ronan, police were hesitant to stop this practice because it was seen as altruistic – to help sick people.
In February of 2016, Mark Pugash, a spokesperson for Toronto police, told us that there’s “no grey area” – these dispensaries are illegal – but they’re not likely to shut them down.
“The law is in the process of changing but our position is: we respond to community complaints or public safety issues,” he says.
When responsibility shifted to GPs, Ronan said many doctors were uncomfortable: some were morally opposed to prescribing weed but most said they simply didn’t know enough about its medicinal properties.
“So even though it was legal and technically every doctor in Canada had the ability to prescribe, very few would actually do so,” Levy says.
Even since Project Claudia, a wave of dispensary raids in May of 2016, and the more recent Project Gator raids that targeted the Cannabis Culture chain, there are currently more than 20.
In March of 2017, Project Gator targeted the Cannabis Culture chain. Since marijuana can’t be used as a first line treatment, you need to show that you’ve tried alternatives and they haven’t worked.“Officers have a considerable amount of discretion which they use.We have a large number of competing priorities and so we make decisions about where we think our resources will do the most good and where they’re most needed.” At the time, Conor Purdon, the district manager of now-closed Weeds Gifts and Glass, said multiple officers had stopped by the Danforth shop – but just to joke around and ensure there was no smoking on the premises or sales to minors.The only payment comes when you actually purchase weed from a licensed supplier.Some so-called clinics charge a fee to connect you with a physician who will be more likely to write you a green prescription but, if you’re looking to abide by the letter of the law, you may as well stick with a clinic like Levy’s that does the same for free. These storefront operations are popping up around the city at an astonishing rate: Levy speculates that there were about four of them in total in 2015.Weed to cure what ails you, though, is a different story.Nowadays in Toronto, you can find doctors, clinics and dispensaries in almost every neighbourhood offering to hook you up.However, they also lack the stringent oversight that clinics and their suppliers operate under since they’re not beholden to the same official guidelines. He says that getting weed from anywhere but a clinic like his is simply illegal.“From the letter of the law perspective, selling cannabis at a dispensary and purchasing it from them is illegal,” he says.Others, however, operate in a legal grey area, bolstered more by philosophy and a seemingly disinterested police force [unless you work for Cannabis Culture].To clear the haze, here’s everything you need to know about getting smoked in the Big Smoke: Is medical marijuana actually legal? Cannabis for medicinal purposes can be used as treatment for specific conditions or to alleviate certain symptoms when authorized by a doctor.