How Toronto Became Canada’s Cannabis Capital

Toronto’s dense population and relaxed legislation have helped make it Canada’s newest marijuana super city.

May 12, 2016

With the recent municipal movement of shutting down illegal dispensaries in Vancouver, a new city is taking over as the cannabis capital of Canada. The new bylaw in Vancouver has allowed Toronto to continue to expand its dispensary business, officially outnumbering Vancouver’s previous record of over 100 shops. 

Vancouver crackdown

toronto overtakes vancouver cannabis closed sign The Latest Cause For Concern With Colorado Cops
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During the first week of May 2016, 22 marijuana dispensaries were shut down, and almost 50 have been given notices to suspend sales. This mass callout of dispensaries has given rise to owners considering taking legal actions against the city, as well as ignoring the cities request to close down.

The dispensary drama is much less prevalent in Canada’s most populous city, as it has risen to become the nation’s current cannabis capital.

Toronto’s canna-boom

toronto overtakes vancouver cannabis rally The Latest Cause For Concern With Colorado Cops
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A student in one of Toronto‘s law schools has mapped out 114 dispensaries currently operating, or opening soon, in 4 main regions of Toronto: The Danforth, The Junction, Queen Street West and the original hub of Kensington Market.

“If your livelihood depends on selling marijuana and you don’t know if you’re going to be able to sell marijuana, then you’ll do so in a space that’s less hostile and more stable. In the next month or two, we might have as many dispensaries as Pizza Pizzas in Toronto.” – Jordan

Unlike Vancouver, Toronto’s mayor is taking a more laid back approach to the massive expansion of the dispensary business. Mayor John Tory will be awaiting the federal legislation in the spring of 2017 to decide how to structure his cities cannabis businesses.

“The one thing you can’t afford to have happen is a broad-scale mockery of the laws.” – Tory

The mayor will be getting the feedback from the cities top medical officer at the Toronto Board of Health to analyze how other municipalities regulate dispensaries. With the biggest focus on how to avoid the sale of marijuana to minors.

Even though Toronto has overtaken Vancouver as the city with the most dispensaries, almost 40% of the shops in Toronto are franchises that originated from the west coast!

Do you think Vancouver can regain its cannabis crown in Canada? Or will the population of Toronto keep it on top for the legal years to come? Join the discussion on social media or in the comments below!

May 12, 2016