Legalization Makes Pot Harder for Some to Buy in Ottawa
Several illegal pot shops in Ottawa shut their doors prior to the October 17 legalization of Cannabis in Canada. The reason for this might not be far from the fact that, last month, Ontario Finance Minister Vic Fedeli threatened that the government won’t be giving out future sales licences to any firm still running an illegal pot shop on Oct. 17.
Heavy new fines from law enforcement, are also a part of the reason why several local pot stores decided to go out of business. If convicted of the unlawful sale and distribution of marijuana, the business owners could be fined up to $250,000. Landlords who avail their stores for rent to illegal pot shops could also be made to face the penalties.
Several customers complained at the sudden disappearance of most private pot retail shops since the legalization. According to the customers, legalization had made pot even harder for them to purchase in Ottawa.
“They expect every riff-raff in Ottawa to go order online? We don’t have the internet,” fumed a man who spoke to Ottawa Citizen, only identifying himself as Sean. “It’s going to cause every riff-raff in town — like me — to go and buy beer now. This is going to cause a lot of alcoholics to fall off the wagon.”
Weeds, a popular pot retailer on Merivale Avenue, had its workers dismantling the store on that Wednesday the 17th of October. The store posted a letter on their closed door, addressed to its customers, “It is with heavy hearts we tell you that after three years in Ottawa, and just days before legalization, our landlord has decided to evict Weeds from this location. We want to thank you for your support and let you know we will be open again in Ottawa in the coming months.”
An angry customer, Mike, 58, who said he had come all the way from Gatineau to buy pot for the first time in ten years expressed his frustration. “It’s just disappointing,” he said when he read the letter on the store’s closure. “Legalization is this big story, but you can’t buy it in Gatineau, and you can’t buy it here. So where do I go now?”
Another store in Carlington, The Hemp Company, had its doors still open but there was no pot for sale. A member of their staff, Cornelius Morgan said employees were just “babysitting” the location. “We’re going to wait it out,” he said, who was directing customers to the company website.
Only one shop on Rideau Street, Ottawa Compassion Clinic, 487 Rideau St. pot shop defied the government monopoly and remains open.
“We’re just doing what we believe in,” said one staff member whopreferred to speak anonymously.
According to the report, Phil “Nineties” Arial was the store’s first customer. Arial told Ottawa Citizen, that he chose to purchase pot from his neighbourhood retailer instead of online through the province’s website because of the convenience. “I have feet don’t I?” he said. “I don’t have a computer.”
Citizens have been advised to learn the rules and regulations guiding the legalization of weed in Canada.