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ON:Medical pot dispensary raided in east Hamilton

by papapuff » Sat Apr 01, 2017 5:43 pm

The Hamilton Spectator

Police looking for suspects after downtown Hamilton dispensary robbed

Hamilton Spectator

Hamilton police are looking for four suspects following a robbery at a marijuana dispensary on Catherine Street North.

Police Staff Sergeant Marco Del Conte said four suspects robbed Delta Nine Medical Marijana Dispensary Saturday afternoon at 2 Catherine St. N., just north of King Street East.

The robbery suspects fled the scene in a vehicle.

Del Conte said the robbery is being investigated by the Hamilton police BEAR, and Vice and drugs units.

Police were unable to say if there were injuries in the robbery, what was stolen, or if the suspects were armed.
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by papapuff » Sun Apr 02, 2017 11:54 am


Hamilton police investigating marijuana dispensary robbery on Catharine Street North

Posted: April 2, 2017

Hamilton police are on the lookout for several armed thieves after a robbery at a medical marijuana dispensary downtown.

Police were called to Delta Nine at 2 Catharine Street North near King Street East just about 2 p.m., Saturday.

They couldn’t confirm how many men went into the store, but reports suggest four men with shot-guns robbed the dispensary then took off in a vehicle.

Hamilton police BEAR unit and and Vice and drugs units have taken over the investigation.

Reports say there were no injuries during the robbery but it is still unclear how many suspects are involved or what exactly was stolen.
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by papapuff » Mon Apr 03, 2017 10:21 am

Hamilton Spectator

Hamilton dispensary robbed at gunpoint, then raided by police: owner

Hamilton Spectator

A medical marijuana dispensary in downtown Hamilton was robbed at gunpoint Saturday.

"Basically, four guys ran in with guns," Mike Desrochers, who has run Delta Nine medical marijuana dispensary at 2 Catharine St. N. since August, said Sunday.

Desrochers said the armed robbers, who burst into the shop around 1:30 p.m., didn't make off with much, however. "They were too stupid to open the cash drawer."

Staff Sgt. Marco Del Conte said four suspects fled the scene in a vehicle.

Desrochers, who called 911 to report the robbery, says police stayed to investigate but then produced a warrant hours later.

"They took everything else that was in the store," he said. "All our product was taken, and we're back to zero."

Police and the Hamilton's bylaw department have raided several illegal dispensaries in recent months. Owners argue they're providing an essential medical service that Health Canada-licensed facilities aren't meeting.

The police's BEAR, and vice and drugs units are working together on the investigation, Del Conte said, but couldn't comment on the warrant.
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by papapuff » Thu Apr 13, 2017 12:16 pm

Hamilton police bust another pot dispensary

CBC News Posted: Apr 13, 2017

Hamilton police have announced they have arrested another owner of a marijuana dispensary running in the city.

Police say that Wednesday at around 12:30 p.m., the vice and drug unit raided Georgia Peach at 105 George St. in downtown Hamilton.

In a press release, police said they seized about $21,000 worth of pot and edibles.

A 49-year-old Hamilton man was charged with three counts of possession for the purpose of trafficking, and proceeds of crime under $5,000.

He was released on a promise to appear in court.

"The federal government has committed to making changes to the laws and regulations in relation to marijuana," police said in a news release. "However, until such changes are proclaimed law, the present provision of the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act in relation to the possession and sale of marijuana remain in force."

"The Hamilton Police Service is dedicated to investigating all allegation of criminal activity, including the selling or trafficking of marihuana from dispensaries."

Police have busted several marijuana dispensaries in the city in recent months.
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by papapuff » Wed May 03, 2017 10:41 am

Hamilton Spectator

Halton police bust Burlington pot dispensary

Hamilton Spectator

Halton police have raided a marijuana dispensary in Burlington, arresting the business owner and seizing approximately $22,000-worth of product.

Police executed a warrant at Frank's Magic Crops at 419 Guelph Line on May 2, seizing 1.5 kilograms of marijuana and edible cannabis products, along with $1,581 in cash.

The business owner, Anne Pastor, 69, of Burlington was arrested and released on a promise to appear in court May 30. She's facing a charge of possession of marijuana for the purpose of trafficking.

Halton police cautioned the public to remember that recreational marijuana sale is illegal.

Police will continue to seize product and arrest dispensary owners, despite upcoming legalization of recreational use in Canada.
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by papapuff » Wed May 10, 2017 12:51 pm

May 10, 2017 12:06 pm

Operator of Hamilton marijuana dispensary facing drug charges

By Rick Zamperin News Anchor 900CHML

Hamilton police have arrested the operator of a marijuana dispensary in the city.

Police allege the individual was illegally selling or giving marijuana or marijuana derivatives to clients.

Officers raided the Hamilton Village Dispensary at 275 King St. E. just before 2:30 p.m. Tuesday.

Police also seized approximately $50,000 worth of marijuana and marijuana derivative products including processed marijuana, and THC based products.

A man, 30, whose name has not been released, has been charged with drug possession and trafficking offences.

The man has been released on a promise to appear.
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by papapuff » Thu Aug 10, 2017 5:54 pm

City seeks pot shop court injunction

NEWS Aug 10, 2017 07:53 by Matthew Van Dongen Hamilton Spectator

The city is escalating its battle with illegal storefront pot shops by seeking a court injunction to shutter a popular downtown dispensary and vapour lounge.

But owners and supporters of the Hamilton Village Dispensary and Cloud Nine are vowing to fight to save the 275 King St. E businesses.

The injunction request obtained by The Spectator cites zoning and bylaw violations in asking a judge to order the businesses permanently closed. It also wants Hamilton police to be required to enforce the order.

The Village Dispensary — formerly Cannabis Culture — has been raided by police more than once over illegal drug sales, but has always reopened.

"It's ridiculous. They're looking for any option they can to shut us down," said landlord Conrad Floyd, who added he intends to fight the court action alongside with his tenants.

"They are looking to set a precedent. I hope they do, because eventually we (cannabis activists) win these fights," said Cloud Nine owner Britney Guerra, who pointed to Vancouver's decision to license marijuana dispensaries in that city while the federal government slowly introduces new retail and production rules for pot.

Spokesperson Ann Lamanes said the city is "seeking compliance with municipal bylaws" through the injunction but declined to give more information because the matter is before the courts.

The injunction document, however, cites zoning violations as well as "flagrant" and repeated bylaw infractions related to signage, property standards and even the sale of chips and pop.

The owners and customers of around 20 retail medical marijuana pot shops in Hamilton rallied at City Hall earlier this year to protest the city's bylaw crackdown — which comes on top of regular police raids to seize illegal drugs.

The growing number of storefront medical pot shops across Canada remain illegal despite pending new federal law changes designed to legalize marijuana and regulate production and distribution of the drug.

Guerra — who owned the local Cannabis Culture until she was charged by Toronto police earlier this year in a series of raids on the cross-country chain — concedes the dispensary and cannabis lounge are "not yet technically legal."

But she argued the city should license the outlets in the interim to provide "badly needed" services to medical marijuana patients, as well as a "safe space" in the vapour lounge. She pointed to an in-store petition calling for licensing that she says has so far attracted thousands of names as well as an online version.

Floyd noted he and his tenants are already fighting bylaw charges and fines related to the city crackdown. "If you want to get regulatory cash out of us, that's fine. But do it with licensing fees."

Guerra said she would love to meet with city politicians to find a "mutually agreeable solution" — but, otherwise, she'll keep up the fight. "The police will charge us but we always reopen. This is a movement and we support each other."
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by papapuff » Tue Aug 29, 2017 5:45 pm

August 29,2017

City wins court battle to shutter vape lounge, but pot dispensary can stay open

by Susan Clairmont Hamilton Spectator

A court injunction has shut down a vapour lounge not because it violated pot laws, but because it contravened a zoning bylaw.

The City of Hamilton was successful in winning an interim injunction against Cloud Nine vape lounge because the space it occupies on the second floor of 275 King St. E. is zoned residential, not commercial.

Meanwhile, a judge has ruled that the pot dispensary on the first floor of the same building can stay open.

The order by Justice Thomas Lofchik was handed down Aug. 24, essentially giving the city half of what it wanted. It had hoped to force both businesses to close, but the Superior Court judge has allowed Hamilton Village Dispensary to remain open to sell marijuana and marijuana products to those with prescriptions. However, those folks can no longer go upstairs to consume their purchase.

"They shut Cloud Nine down because of the nature of the business and they're using any excuse," says owner Britney Guerra, who has now started the process of applying for the space to be rezoned as commercial.

She is not optimistic.

"The city will probably deny the zoning," she says.

This isn't Guerra's first battle with city hall or the court.

In February, she was one of the recipients of cease-and-desist letters the city sent to 17 medical marijuana dispensaries. At the time, she owned Cannabis Culture dispensary (which is now Hamilton Village Dispensary).

Pot businesses operate in an unregulated grey area with no governing bylaws while the federal government slowly introduces new retail and production rules for marijuana.

The Specatator wasn't immediately able to reach any city representatives for comment late Tuesday.

In March, Cannabis Culture in Hamilton was raided by Toronto police as part of a takedown of the chain's owners, Mark and Jodie Emery. Guerra was charged with conspiracy to commit an indictable offence. One of her conditions was to stay out of all pot dispensaries. To get to the only staircase leading up to Cloud Nine, she would have to walk through the downstairs dispensary, so she had been working from home since the arrest. That is, until the whole lounge was shut down last week.

Things have changed for Hamilton Village Dispensary, too, in the wake of the court order. But Conrad Floyd, who owns the building and refers to himself as part of a "collective" running the dispensary, sees that as a good thing. For him, the court ruling to allow the dispensary to continue operating is akin to a stamp of approval.

However, over the last few days, it has had to shift from being a "recreational dispensary" selling pot to any adult with or without a prescription to only serving those with a medical marijuana prescription.

"My agenda is to work with the city," Floyd says, adding he has lawyers ready to push for a rezoning of the building's upper floor.

A dispensary and vape lounge "is what the public clearly wants," he says. "Cannabis will revive whole communities."

The interim injunction will be back in court in December.

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by papapuff » Tue Sep 12, 2017 3:26 pm

September 12,2017

Councillors urge marijuana shop crackdown

by Matthew Van Dongen Hamilton Spectator

The number of illegal storefront pot shops in Hamilton is growing even as police raids continue, municipal zoning charges pile up in court and the province moves to take over retail marijuana sales next year.

The trend is prompting some councillors to call for a renewed police crackdown — but dispensary advocates and patients argue politicians should recognize the private marijuana outlets are here to stay — with or without a legal blessing.

Coun. Doug Conley will bring forward a motion Wednesday appealing to Hamilton police for help, noting at least 19 marijuana dispensaries remain open despite a municipal bylaw crackdown that has so far resulted in 45 "non-compliance" notifications and 31 charges before the courts, mostly related to illegal zoning.

Licensing director Ken Leendertse said despite the closure of around 10 pot shops due to city or police charges, new pot shops are continually popping up. He estimates there are closer to 25 operating establishments, but "this number is changing weekly."

Leendertse added municipal inspectors are investigating three apparent newcomers on James Street, Ottawa Street and in Dundas right now.

Conley said the trend is particularly troubling given the province's plan to take over retail sales of marijuana next July. Attorney General Yasir Naqvi warned earlier this week the province would take measures to ensure freelance retail outlets are shut down.

"But we can't just wait around while they become more and more entrenched," said Conley, who expressed frustration at the city's inability to force a Stoney Creek outlet to close. "We've tried going through the courts, but we (the city) can't do it."

The city tried earlier this year via an injunction request to force the shutdown of the Hamilton Village Dispensary and a vapour lounge in the same building based on zoning and other bylaw violations.

The court agreed to shut down the vapour lounge, but in an interim decision refused to allow the city to permanently shutter the dispensary, instead allowing it to stay open so long as it served only medicinal pot to patients with prescriptions. The case will be back in court in December.

Police continue to periodically raid various dispensaries, laying charges and seizing illegal drugs. But in some cases, those outlets reopen with new product days later.

Hamilton police expect new provincial legislation dealing with retail sales will "make it easier" for police to keep pop-up pot shops from reopening, said Coun. Lloyd Ferguson, who chairs the Hamilton Police Services Board. "Do we need to keep at them? Absolutely," he said. "But we're looking for those (legislative) tools, as well."

Britney Guerra, who owns the now-closed vapour lounge above the Hamilton Village Dispensary, said the eventual court decision on the city's injunction request could end up being a win for private dispensaries if it legalizes the sale of medical pot from the location.

Regardless, she argued private operators are here to stay.

"This industry always adapts," she said. "The need (for marijuana users) is far greater than anything the province has planned."

Tamara Hirsch, spokesperson for two Pacifico pot outlets in Hamilton, echoed that belief in an earlier interview, suggesting dispensary operators see police raids as a "cost of doing business" in a pioneering industry that outpaces evolving regulations.

City and police pressure have forced some closures, however.

Cory Kaus once helped run Bright Moments, a popular downtown dispensary that closed after one of the earliest police raids more than a year ago.

"It was frustrating for me as a patient and an advocate," said Kaus, who started using medical marijuana to deal with pain and nerve damage from a knee injury.

Kaus later volunteered at the shop. He thinks the province and federal government will eventually realize how "unrealistic" it is to limit retail shops to government control and force medical users to rely on mail-order pot.

He said he suspects the sheer cost of competing with — and cracking down on — black market outlets in competition with the LCBO-run stores will eventually force a government rethink.

"It's inevitable they will see it is a huge fumble," he said. "But in the meantime, patients will suffer, people will lose access to medicine that they need. And that's sad."

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by papapuff » Thu Sep 21, 2017 11:51 am


Marijuana dispensaries in Hamilton

Posted: September 20, 2017


A marijuana dispensary owner spoke out at Hamilton City Hall arguing why council should reject a motion encouraging police to crack down on dispensaries.

Clint Younge owns 3 marijuana dispensaries in Hamilton, storefronts that are operating illegally.

“There are different styles of dispensaries running and there are different people running it and not all of them are the same.”

He made a presentation to council Wednesday before they vote next week whether to urge the police to do more to crack down on these shops, highlighting his community outreach, including a mental health support program he’s opening next door. Two of his dispensaries, one on Ottawa street and a second near Hess village were raided by police in the last year.

Younge also has shops in Vancouver that are regulated and says he follows the same rules with his Hamilton shops.

Counicor Doug Conley is planning to bring forward a motion next week urging police to do more to crack down on these illegal dispensaries, saying at least two dozen remain open in the city.

Younge says he doesn’t want to get into a battle with the city and he’s invited councillors to tour his shops and see how they operate. At MMJ patients with medical marijuana prescriptions consult with a holistic doctor before they can make a purchase. All of the products are from legal sources through federally licensed growers.

The province recently unveiled its new regulations for recreational marijuana when it is legalized next year saying sales will be restricted to 150 LCBO-run stores and they’ll be cracking down on illegal sales.

A municipal bylaw crackdown has resulted in 45 non-compliance notifications and about 30 charges before the courts, mostly related to illegal zoning. So far, 10 dispensaries have closed.
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by papapuff » Tue Oct 03, 2017 10:39 am



Hamilton politicians approve motion to crack down on pot shops

by Kevin Werner Stoney Creek News

Stoney Creek Coun. Doug Conley isn’t against dispensaries selling marijuana. He just doesn’t want them located in neighbourhoods near schools or where children are present.

“I’m not against what they do,” said Conley at a Sept. 27 council meeting. “I’m against where they are. Not where kids are living.”

The Ward 9 councillor has become exasperated with a marijuana dispensary in his downtown Stoney Creek area, located beside the Attic restaurant, at 91 King St. in a two-storey house. For one period of time he watched as at least 50 vehicles entered the parking lot of the dispensary, called the Wellness Glass Company, causing traffic and parking problems. Conley said there are families with young children near the business.

The Stoney Creek BIA has also expressed its opposition to the marijuana dispensary and endorses Conley’s stricter enforcement on pot shops.

Conley, who had delayed introducing a motion requiring the police to crack down on marijuana dispensaries, presented it at the Sept. 27 council meeting. He wants the police to enforce the Narcotics Control Act and charge those marijuana dispensaries that are selling non-medical marijuana. A visit by a Hamilton Community News reporter found employees selling pot to a line-up of people earlier this month.

Hamilton councillors approved Conley’s motion, including a requirement to ask the federal government to implement its legislation for the legalization of marijuana be accelerated to prevent further confusion for municipalities and the public.

But Hamilton Police Service Supt. Ryan Diodati said while police will enforce the laws, there are other priorities officers will be focused on besides marijuana dispensaries.

Police, he told councillors, have already issued 10 warrants for 10 dispensaries that have led to their closure. But the problem, said Diodati, is those businesses reopen and the legal process can start over again.

“It’s frustrating,” he said. “They’re back in business, sometimes the same day.”

The city’s bylaw enforcement has also issued 45 non-compliance zoning notifications and 25 zoning charges that are before the courts.

Hamilton police say there are about 20 marijuana dispensaries operating in the city.

Hamilton police are also receiving different messages from other levels of government about marijuana legislation. The federal Liberals are planning on legalizing the sale and distribution of marijuana on or before July 1, 2018.

And the provincial Liberals announced last month that it will create a cannabis control board and open up to 60 storefronts in the first year to manage the sale and distribution of marijuana in the province. It will mean illegal pot shops will be shut down over the next year.

Provincial plans include restricting marijuana sales to those 19 and older, a year above the minimum age recommended by the federal government’s cannabis task force report.

Ward 3 Coun. Matthew Green, while not opposed to marijuana dispensaries, said they should respect the existing bylaws and planning requirements when they set up shop.

He said the dispensary issue is similar to how Hamilton handled its licensing issues with Uber. The ride-hailing business continued to operate in the city even though it was from the municipality’s point of view an illegal business.

Hamilton eventually crafted a bylaw that allowed Uber to operate while also satisfying the taxi industry’s concerns.

Mountain Coun. Terry Whitehead said it is the responsibility of the city to make sure the product that pot dispensaries are selling is safe for the public’s consumption.

“We need to make marijuana safer for residents,” he said.

Glanbrook Coun. Brenda Johnson said her issue is there are illegal marijuana grow operations throughout her ward, some in residential neighbourhoods that violate local bylaws such as noise and odour issues and even attract violence, including a shooting earlier this year.

“My residents want the smell to stop. My residents want the shootings to stop,” said Johnson.
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