Canada: Unlicensed Toronto cannabis dispensary caught with pot-filled knock-offs of big brands

BlogTO – 09 November 2021

Cannabis stores have become the new Starbucks, and you can find one in just about every Toronto neighbourhood now. In fact, you can probably find more than just one.

But not all dispensaries are legit: a black market still caters to a large share of cannabis consumers unsatisfied with the high prices and potency limitations imposed on government-approved pot products.           

One such dispensary in Toronto was recently shuttered by cops as many were out looking to resupply for the weekend, the Toronto Police Service executing a Cannabis Act search warrant this past Friday.

Officers from the Central North District Major Crime Unit raided the store near Alness Street and Finch Avenue West in the York University Heights area at 7 p.m. on Friday.

Cops seized an impressive haul of unlicensed edibles, stating that they “were packaged and labelled to replicate mainstream candy products for public consumption.”

And the spread looks more like a reaction to potheads’ munchies than the actual cause.

cannabis stores toronto

Products seized during the raid look strikingly similar to major snack brands. Photo by Toronto Police Service.

Clever spins on branding with names like “Cheetos Puffs,” “Cannaburst,” “Stoner Patch Kids,” and “Rope-a-Dope,” along with the odd pot leaf here and there offer some visual cues that these convenience store classics might hide more fun than just a tasty treat.

But even with the somewhat obvious hints, it’s still pretty clear to see how these cannabis confections and chronic crunchies could easily be mistaken for the real thing by unsuspecting kids raiding the snack cupboard.

So why are people getting arrested selling these eye-reddening knock-offs when edibles have been legal since 2019?

Sure, they’re legal, but Canada actually has some pretty stringent regulations on the potency of legally-sold edibles, limiting them to 10 mg of THC per package. These dosage limits don’t really appeal to the more seasoned users, feeding a black market for much stronger edibles.

In contrast to the legal stuff, a quick search of the Cheetos Puffs product that was seized reveals a dosage of 600 mg per package, 60 times what regulations allow. A user seeking this dose would have to consume an insane amount of calories to achieve a similar buzz with legal edibles.

Police are reminding parents to keep their cannabis products safely stored out of reach of children, especially when they look this delicious and pack such a punch.

Photos by Toronto Police Service
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