It may be legal to smoke or otherwise ingest cannabis in Canada, but you still can't sell it without a licence — or keep hundreds of pounds of the stuff in a secret warehouse with the intent to sell.
Toronto Police just made what might be the biggest illegal grow-op bust we've seen since recreational weed was first legalized around these parts in 2018.
With an estimated street value of roughly $2.3 million, officers seized a whopping 510 lbs of marijuana (or as cops and scientists like to spell it, "marihuana,") from a warehouse near Markham Road and McNicoll Avenue around 4:30 p.m. on Tuesday.
Police said in a press release Thursday morning that they had been responding to "complaints made by members of the community that a cannabis operation was present" in the area.
After obtaining a search warrant, 42 Division officers raided an industrial unit to find "evidence of a marihuana distribution operation inside."
Six people, all of them between the ages of 27 and 33, were arrested and charged under the Criminal Code of Canada with one count each of Possession of Cannabis for the Purpose of Distributing. They are:
- Kiu Chen, 33, of Milton
- Wei Gao, 33, of Markham
- Hang Jiang, 27, of Scarborough
- Shuai Li, 33, of Whitby
- Hao Liu, 32, of Scarborough
- Yun Ni, 33, of Scarborough
While it is legal for adults in Canada to hold as much as 30 grams of cannabis on their person, the criminal charge of Possession of Cannabis for the Purpose of Distributing comes with a maximum sentence of 14 years in prison.
Ontario residents may furthermore only grow four marijuana plants at a time, in a private residence, and cannot sell their crops to anyone else.
Lax as our country's reputation may be for cracking down on pot, under no interpretation of the law can an organized group hold more than $2 million worth of weed in a warehouse.
by Lauren O'Neil via blogTO