Toronto police raid unlicensed dispensary, seize products and arrest 6

| Staff

Police in Toronto raided an unlicensed cannabis store, 1Tonamara, that was also selling psilocybin infused chocolate.

The raid, which took place on Monday, November 28, 2022, ended in six arrests and the seizure of “a large quantity” of dried cannabis, pre-rolled joints, oils, hash, and edibles as well as psilocybin in a chocolate bar form and a “small quantity” of cash. 

The police report from 14 Division says authorities “became involved in a drug investigation” on Sunday, November 13—although 1Tonamara has operated for some time. A cannabis industry organization raised concerns about the unlicensed store opening its doors to children on Halloween, along with a neighbouring unlicensed dispensary, CAFE.

While most illicit cannabis dispensaries in the city have been closed, CAFE currently lists several locations in Toronto. 

Kevin Vuong, an Independent MP representing the Ontario riding of Spadina—Fort York, which is home to both 1Tonamara and the neighbouring CAFE location, says he and many of his constituents have been concerned with the lack of enforcement against these kinds of unlicensed stores. 

“Many of these illegal stores are using targeted ads and promotion to attract children, and these unscrupulous illegal businesses are also selling copycat edibles that look like candy,” Vuong said in the House of Commons recently, also saying that “some of the products have actually poisoned children.”

“The problem exists because there has been a serious lack of enforcement of the many regulations that legitimate Canadian cannabis businesses must follow,” he continued. “Ignoring these rules has allowed the black market to flourish. Many of these illegal businesses make upwards of $50,000 a day, according to some reports. Most are operating 24-7, selling their unregulated and contaminated products that, and I cannot emphasize it enough, target children. Some have even set up businesses right across the street from a school.”

Vuong says that some parents have told him they have been warned not to speak up about the issue, and feel “threatened, helpless and hopeless.” He calls on assistance from the federal government to ensure local police can do their jobs. 

“While I commend police in Spadina—Fort York, especially 14 Division, for their work in trying to shut down these illegal stores, they cannot do it alone. I hope the federal government will assist police in closing these illegal operations, so I want to ask my hon. colleague what the government is prepared to do to crack down on these illegal pot shops.”

Vuong was not immediately available for additional comment on this weeks’ raid. 

The six individuals facing charges related to the 1Tonamara raid are from Toronto, Midland, and Sutton West, and all face charges for Possession of a Schedule III Substance for the Purpose of Trafficking, Possession for the Purpose of Selling, and Possession of Proceeds of Crime Under $5000.

They will attend court at Old City Hall on Wednesday, February 1, 2023, in room 103 at 9 a.m.

An employee of 1Tonamara who spoke with StratCann prior to the raid said that although the store was raided in 2018, they had not faced any pushback since. 

“Now that cannabis is just a plant, the government has no right to tell us what tomatoes to buy, so what gives them the right to tell us what flower to buy?” asked Scott Cameron, Head of Operations at 1Tonamara.