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Tuesday, April 30, 2019

Complaints and delays plaguing rollout of legal weed in Toronto

It's been a month since cannabis stores became legal in Ontario, but some licensed retailers in Toronto are still struggling to open. 

Out of the five pot purveyors who were supposed to be selling weed by April 1, only three have managed to start selling bud, pre-rolls, and oils to the public before the one-month mark.

Canna Cabana is still waiting for the go-ahead from the AGCO, meaning it won't be able to open until sometime in May—or maybe even June

Queen West's Hunny Pot was the only store to launch in time for the provincially-imposed deadline, with Ameri following suit the week after, and Alberta-based brand Nova Cannabis coming in third. 

With legalization day long come and gone (and the euphoria of being able to spark a joint in public gone with it), the turtle-paced roll-out of Toronto's weed retail scene goes to show the government and the OCS have some work to do before purchasing legal weed can be completely glitch-free (and lineup free, too). 

Here are a few of the lows of getting high, courtesy of Toronto weed stores since buying pot became legal. 

Weed prices are up

According to Statistics Canada, prices for weed have steadily been on the up and up since legalization last year.

While Nova Cannabis is trying to tackle its biggest competitor (illicit weed stores) with Black Market Buster deals, people who are buying their cannabis from the OCS are now paying an average of about $9.99 per gram—that's roughly $3 more than those buying their bud from illegal stores.

Black market weed is still thriving

There's still around 20 illegal dispensaries operating in the city, and at least 100 illegal marijuana delivery services. Why? See above: unlicensed weed stores are significantly cheaper than the legal ones, and loopholes in the city's laws allow them to operate pretty much undisturbed, save for the occasional raids. 

Not all stores are accessible 

If you're a Torontonian with mobility issues, good luck trying to get into Hunny Pot. The Queen West pot shop has been criticized for violating the Ontario Building Code, which requires the renovated space to be accessible for those with disabilities.

In fact, Ken Harrower, a disabled man from Toronto, is launching a human rights challenge against Ontario's Attorney General, the Office of the Premier, and the Toronto Police Service, for not actively ensuring the cannabis retail system is accessible for all. 

OCS packaging

Aside from the fact every product coming out of the OCS comes triple-wrapped in excessive, sometimes non-recyclable polypropylene packaging, the containers are just plain confusing. 

Lack of packaging standards means your order comes in all shapes and sizes, regardless of whether you're getting bud or pre-rolled joints, which is as confusing for buyers as it is for those behind the counter.

That means depending on which LP made your product, you might get your flower in a container, or maybe a long tube—the same kind of tube you might get a pre-roll in from another LP. Who else is missing the baggies already? 

by Tanya Mok via blogTO

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