The city government of Toronto spent more than $350,000 to blockade unlicensed cannabis shops with slabs of concrete last summer, according to a city official. Senior communications adviser Alex Burke said that a total of $361,459.49 was spent to install and then reinstall large concrete blocks that barred entry to four Cannabis and Fine Edibles (CAFE) shops that were operating without licenses.
The amount spent includes labor to install the concrete blocks and pay city engineers and security staff. The total was not paid by city funds, according to Burke, who wrote in an email to local media that “the city has received monies from the provincial government to support the establishment and implementation of an enforcement strategy for cannabis in the city of Toronto.”
To serve its population of nearly 3 million people, Toronto has only six licensed cannabis retailers, according to information from the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario, which is tasked with regulating commercial cannabis in the province. Eleven more shops have been proposed and are waiting for licenses to be approved.
In July, workers from the city’s Department of Municipal Licensing and Standards (MLS) installed the concrete blocks in front of the four CAFE shops,