Toronto police began a massive citywide raid on medical marijuana dispensaries in Canada on Thursday. Police tweeted that they'd issued search warrants targeting storefront cannabis dispensaries under Project Claudia. Sources have told VICE that 78 dispensaries were being raided, although that has yet to be confirmed.
VICE witnessed two plain-clothed officers raiding Eden dispensary on Queen Street West at around 1 PM Thursday. They confirmed they were raiding the dispensary but said they didn't have time to comment, noting more details would come out later. Inside, at least eight employees sat in handcuffs while cops went through the product inside, placing large quantities of bud into plastic bags. They were also using scales and cameras to conduct the raid.
An employee with the city's licensing department also showed up, but said he could not comment on the situation. Speaking to an officer and an employee in cuffs, he said he would need a "declaration."
Customer "Pastel Supernova" told VICE the dispensary is clean, friendly, and knowledgeable. "I just think it's lame, there are bigger crimes," she said of the crackdown.
"All the drug dealers in Toronto are cheering right now," another bystander said.
Pot activist Jodie Emery came to Eden to witness the raid. She shamed police there and said Justin Trudeau is doing more harm toward the legalization movement by placing former police officer Bill Blair in charge of it.
"Peaceful people are being harmed by this law enforcement," she told VICE, noting dispensaries are providing a good service to communities.
Toronto is currently home to more than 100 dispensaries, but Mayor John Tory recently called for a crackdown.
VICE will be updating this ongoing story.
With files from Rachel Browne.
Follow Manisha Krishnan on Twitter.