Cannabis (marijuana) is still a Schedule II drug under the Controlled Drug and Substances Act, and, unless otherwise regulated for production and distribution for medical purposes, is subject to offences under that Act. The possession and sale cannabis for non-medical purposes is still illegal everywhere in Canada.
Storefront operations selling cannabis, also known as “dispensaries” and “compassion clubs” are not licensed by Health Canada and are illegal. They are supplied by illegal growers and sell untested, unregulated products that may be unsafe and of particular risk to children.
Some cities such as the City of Toronto has charged individuals with possession for the purpose of trafficking and possession of proceeds obtained by crime who have operated such dispensaries. There are 38 authorized licensed producers in Canada, and 23 in Ontario. Licensed producers distribute medical marijuana and cannabis oils by mail to authorized users. Storefront distribution of medical marijuana or cannabis is illegal and not permitted.
There are public health and safety risks that are associated with cannabis use, including its effects on the mental development of young people and illicit profits that support criminal organization. Until cannabis laws change, and strict regulations and restrictions are put in effect, local police authorities will continue to address illegal cannabis possession and sales.
Access to Cannabis for Medical Purposes Regulations (ACMPR)
Canadian Criminal Code
Controlled Drugs and Substances Act
Drug-Impaired Driving Detection Act
Food and Drug Act
Proposed Cannabis Harm Prevention Act
The City of Toronto Licensing and Standards Committee received a staff report on the issue of medical cannabis dispensaries. The committee “deferred consideration of the item until provincial and federal legislation has been passed on medical marijuana dispensaries”. Read the staff report on the Review of Regulations Governing Marijuana for Medical Purposes.
Toronto Public Health reported on the legalization and regulation of non-medical marijuana, May 16, 2016
By-Law re: Compassion Clubs and Medical marijuana-related Retail Dealers
By-Law re: Cannabis-related Businesses