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Toronto using concrete blocks to prevent unlicensed marijuana dispensaries from reopening

Concrete blocks could be seen blocking the entrance of an alleged illegal marijuana dispensary on St. Nicholas Street in Toronto.
Concrete blocks could be seen blocking the entrance of an alleged illegal marijuana dispensary on St. Nicholas Street in Toronto. Chris Dunseith / Global News

The City of Toronto has resorted to using huge concrete blocks to prevent unlicensed marijuana dispensaries from reopening in the city.

Blocks were first placed in front of the doors of an alleged illegal dispensary near Yonge and Bloor streets in May.

“We did an initial enforcement action at this location several weeks ago,” Mark Sraga, the director of municipal licensing and standards for the City of Toronto told Global News Radio on Friday. “The operators chose to ignore that.”

READ MORE: City of Toronto cracks down on 28 illegal pot shops as legal retail stores mark first week in operation

Sraga said the city took a number of measures to make sure no one could go back into the location on St. Nicholas Street, including changing the locks on the doors.

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However, the owners allegedly broke back into the location and continued to illegally sell cannabis, Sraga said.

“We then employed a more significant enforcement action,” he said.

At least a dozen blocks could be seen covering the front doors on Saturday, which sits at the base of a condo building.

“They were delivered on a flatbed truck that had its own crane mounted on it and they placed the blocks,” Sraga said, adding the city worked alongside the building’s condo board prior to taking action.

LISTEN: The full interview with Mark Sraga 

“This is the first location where we had employed this type of methodology … A few days later, we did another illegal storefront where we also placed concrete blocks in front of the doors to prevent unauthorized entry into those premises.”

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Sraga said the Ontario Cannabis Control Act has given bylaw officers the power to take such action.

In the past, enforcement would primarily be left up to police officers who would conduct raids on illegal dispensaries.

Sraga said the blocks will remain at the locations until the matters are settled in court. He added similar action may be taken at other locations in the city.