N/A TORONTO, ON - MAY 26 - Police remove Marijuana products from Cannawide dispensary in Kensington Market on May 26, 2016. Carlos Osorio/Toronto Star

Canadian Concoctions of Cannabis Confusion

What the hell is going on in Canada? This is the question that many people have been asking themselves over the past few months when it comes to the issue of marijuana legalization in the country. Since Justin Trudeau was elected the prime minister of Canada activists and patients alike have been awaiting his actions to legalize cannabis in the country as he promised, he would do so during his campaign.

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Since being elected, it seems as if there is a new story in the news every week in regards to marijuana legalization and it doesn’t seem as if there has been any progress whatsoever. Just recently in the news Justin Trudeau announced that his administration would be taking steps in 2017 to fulfill his promise of responsibly legalizing cannabis in Canada.

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For several years now there have been marijuana dispensaries catering to legal medical marijuana patients in Canada. There have also been allegations that some of these entities were also selling cannabis products to individuals that were not legal medical marijuana patients and some were even allegedly responsible for distributing cannabis products to minors. Many of these dispensaries have also been knowingly operating without the proper licensing.

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Despite these allegations that have been occurring for several years and the knowledge of improper or no licensing, there has been little police crackdown on dispensaries in the country. Now however in what would seem to be a turning of the page when it comes to cannabis legalization in Canada, police are taking action and cracking down on these dispensaries even with legalization pending on the horizon.

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This past week Toronto police showed their authority in an operation known as Project Claudia. Project Claudia is Toronto’s way of cracking down on at least half of Toronto’s 83 known dispensaries that are operating without the proper licenses. On Thursday, May 26th Toronto police raided at least 45 of these dispensaries and arrested at least 90 individuals. This has caused quite the stir amongst the cannabis community in Canada as well as around the world.

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Renowned cannabis activists Marc and Jodie Emery were amongst the many activists who showed up for a protest Friday morning at the Toronto Police Headquarters and were amongst the first to start asking questions that everyone is still waiting on the answers to. Questions such as who is responsible for this blatant attack on cannabis businesses and the culture as a whole?

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Many individuals are looking at Justin Trudeau as he has been very delayed with fulfilling his campaign promises and many feel that if he would have taken steps to legalize cannabis immediately as he promised he would, the devastation to these individuals lives and a crackdown of this magnitude would not have occurred.

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Other individuals are looking to the Toronto mayor John Tory, who has been blatantly open about his lack of support for cannabis legalization as well as his lack of support for medical marijuana dispensaries in Toronto.

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Marc Emery was quoted saying the following during an interview with the Toronto Sun during this past week’s protest in Toronto.

“The citizens of Toronto love these dispensaries because they support them in droves … they are going to remember the people like John Tory, who brought this oppression to the kind of horrible peak that we’re seeing today. John Tory is finished. Let me guarantee you that.”

Initial estimates suggest that at least 1000 pounds of raw cannabis was seized from over 80 dispensaries in Toronto total. The estimated value of the raw cannabis alone was in excess of $2,000,000. There were also a countless number of extracts and edibles that were confiscated and these business owners, and other individuals that were arrested will have to pay thousands of dollars for bail and legal fees. This is absolutely devastating to these businesses, these families and the cannabis culture as a whole.

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Many individuals including Jodie Emery herself have called upon the Trudeau administration to immediately take action and decriminalize cannabis while they piddle around trying to regulate it the way they want. Until action is taken, there will be several lives ruined and disrupted every day. There are dozens of dispensaries that have been operating legally and some even illegally throughout the country for several years now and the only real harm being caused is being caused by government officials and police forces against these businesses owners. There’s not been one single life ruined because these businesses have been operating. In fact, there have been hundreds of lives saved thanks to them.

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The only lives being harmed are the ones being caught up in the legal ramifications of unjust and draconian laws. The public supports dispensaries and the service that they provide. It is time that leaders represent the people instead of their own agendas. Prohibition always has been and will always be the only thing harmful about cannabis.

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It is time that governments around the world wake up and take actions to end prohibition once and for all. In fact, it is time that cannabis was treated just like any other plant because any way you look at it, it’s a plant. It just so happens to be a plant that can save lives, economies, and our environment. All the more reason to end prohibition once and for all, globally!

Article courtesy of Expert Contributor: AshleyP from Marijuana Writers (MarijuanaWriters.com@MarijuanaWriter)

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