Cannabis Culture owner Richard Standen and another employee are led out of the George Street store in handcuffs following a raid by Peterborough Police early this afternoon.
Supporters and customers say they were hardly surprised.
“Unfortunately because they are working in this grey area they are taking that risk, and it is a calculated risk, and unfortunately that’s the reality of it,” marijuana advocate Cameron Ogden said.
Cannabis Culture opened seven days ago, selling pot to both medicinal and recreational users.
And despite a warning from Peterborough police Wednesday,the store opened shortly after 10 a.m. to a long line of waiting customers.
“I know it’s still illegal, but it is what it is. There’s a lot of shops around Toronto as far as I know, and they can’t just shut them down. Or they can, and they’ll just reopen,” customer Paul Soles said.
And the crowd continued to grow this morning…
until shortly after noon, when police moved in.
Local lawyer Jeff Ayotte says he’s not surprised by the bust…
“I can’t imagine the police are being courteous. I would think it’s more that there’s an understanding that we are in this transition period,” he said.
It took police seven days to shut down Cannabis Culture, despite knowing that the store was violating federal drug laws.
Ayotte says the store’s steady business may speak to a broader desire to see pot laws change sooner, rather than later.
“It is an interesting development when a store opens up downtown selling something that is completely illegal, and there are lineups of 50 people to buy it, in public,” he said.
And it seems most people saw the police raid as inevitable.
“I think police have no choice, until a law has been made they can’t just let it happen,” one man said.
“I think it’s still illegal,” another said.
“I’m glad it was shut down, it’s not something we need in our community, that accessible to children,” one woman said.
“For the time being, the law’s the law. But with our new government that might change,” another woman said.