Toronto Police at 51 Division Should Stop Raiding Medicine Providers Over ‘Complaints’

C.A.L.M., one of Toronto’s oldest compassion clubs, was raided again yesterday for the second time in five months because of neighborhood complaints about smoke – at least, that’s what the cops are saying.

C.A.L.M.’s owner Neev Tapiero’s will have a bail hearing this afternoon at Old City Hall in Toronto – 60 Queen Street West, Court Room 102.

Ron Marzel, attorney for C.A.L.M., says he is working in an attempt to stop police from continuing their brazen raids on medical marijuana clubs.

He described his plan in a message he posted on my Facebook Wall today:

I am going to try to get his matter moved to be heard before a Judge (as opposed to a Justice of the Peace) so that I can obtain some measure of condemnation from the Court concerning this raid. I want to deter Toronto Police from further raids on Compassion Clubs. Toronto Police are not living up to their “serve and protect” slogan when they remain complicit with Health Canada’s dysfunctional medical marijuana program.

Health Canada’s program has been regularly and consistently condemned and criticized at every court level in Canada over the last ten years. The government’s disingenuous discussions over the last 2 months with stakeholders coupled with their continued inability and refusal to fix the dysfunctions inherent in their program is intolerable.

Without compassion clubs seriously ill Canadians would be unnecessarily suffering without access to medical cannabis. What kind of democracy allows this to happen? Is this a Canadian value: Not only are we going to restrict you from accessing your medication; but we are going to perpetually attack, arrest and detain anyone who attempts to supply you your medicine.

Canada WAKE UP! The status quo cannot and must not be allowed to continue! Call your MP and voice your outrage today!

I called Toronto’s 51 Division yesterday and today and left several messages for Detective Jim Brons, the guy in charge of both raids, but he refused to call me back. Just now, I called the front desk at 51 Division again asking for a comment. The officer on the phone said, “hold on a sec,” and I heard him ask someone in the room for a comment.

“No comment.” The voice said.

In some mainstream coverage of the C.A.L.M raid posted online yesterday after CC’s initial piece on the raid, Brons confirmed the actions against the medical pot club and its owner and claimed the raid took place simply because of community complains about pot smoke.

When asked by a Globe and Mail journalist if he knew of raids on any other pot clubs in the city, he said, “I don’t think they’ve actually received any complaints.”

Though it is true that medical marijuana dispensaries are actually still illegal in Canada, police have, for the most part (but with some recent exceptions), looked the other way.

I would love to ask Detective Brons why the police felt the need to raid and arrest the medicine provider instead of simply stopping by the place to discuss the situation and find out if the complaint was true. Was it really necessary to send in a seven-man squad, arrest the whole staff, and shut the place down – twice – over a couple complaints?

Since Brons won’t talk to the media (or the pot media, at least) I implore CC readers to call and ask Detective Brons your own questions about the raid. Here’s his work number: 416-808-5162. If you get his machine, leave him a message or call the 51 Division front desk: 416-808-5100.

Tell him (politely) that you think police raids on suffering people and their medicine providers are wrong, and ask him how his department can justify violent police action against non-violent citizens over a simple smell complaint.

Jeremiah Vandermeer
Jeremiah Vandermeer

Jeremiah Vandermeer is Chief of Operations of Cannabis Culture and Editor of Cannabis Culture Magazine & Pot TV.



  1. Anonymous on

    Here’s how you win a case for a compassion club. You actually get somebody who is authorized to dispense prescription drugs, like a Pharmacist. After they raid the place you take the case to the Supreme Court and ask why Cannabis is treated differently than every other drug in the CDSA. That’s obviously unsupportable legally. Unlike in the US, Canada’s federal government has conceded that Cannabis is a prescription medication. They have no legal grounds to prohibit its dispensation while allowing dispensing of opiates by any pharmacy in the country. They also have no grounds to require a special license to do so. No other prescription drug requires that. Why the arbitrary distinction, especially considering that Cannabis is obviously far less dangerous than anything in any pharmacy, even aspirin. Of course, no club owner wants to actually pay a Pharmacist and no Pharmacist would risk their license for the low pay they would get so I guess we will stay this way forever. You open up the clubs, the cops shut them down, you go to jail and lose a bunch of money and have no legal recourse. But look at the good side. A few people were able to take advantage of your generous nature. That will comfort you while sitting in jail.

  2. Anonymous on

    What’s the point of keeping on opening these clubs up when you know very well that there is no way to legally do so without licensing that will never come (because it’s imaginary) and that you will be subject to arbitrary raids and arrest? Here’s how you sell Cannabis without government interference, by mail order, same as the Health Department. BB has been doing it for years and NEVER got raided, even when his site was in the news for a few weeks and they were actively investigating him. So people have to wait a week for the order, if they are so desperate that they need it right away then that’s where the street dealers come in. They just have to learn to plan ahead. I know that’s difficult, actually having to plan your life a week ahead, but give it a try. Of course, for those who are eager to go to prison or get robbed and possibly killed, like in LA, by all means open up that club. Somebody will thank you for making things convenient for them, customers, cops or robbers. That’s all the motivation you need, right?

    Now, if they actually had somebody who could legally dispense prescription drugs then they might be able to fight their case after they get charged, but none of the clubs bother doing that. They just start dispensing prescription medication using anybody who volunteers for the task. That’s like if I asked around for volunteers to dispense Oxycodone tablets. Sure, you’d get a few. There are people out there who would volunteer for any damn thing, apparently. Of course, eventually, when the police actually get around to it, you’ll be arrested and charged. Why the big outrage when the prescription drug being illegally dispensed is Cannabis? Is your argument that prescription drugs should be dispensed by anybody at any time? Sounds like a position that would be a little difficult to justify, unless you think Oxycodone stands in the park would be a good thing.

  3. Brian Kerr on

    Mmmm I like the smell of weed.

    Every time I pass a cop I smell shit. Nazi fascist shit.

  4. Dirty Harry on

    I am in the US, but isn’t someone saying they “smelled pot” a lot different that the police themselves smelling it? True they could of said they did, but in this case it was based on a “report” of a smell?
    If the police don’t smell it, it’s not there. What the reporting person thought they smelled could of been someones burnt toast.

  5. Anonymous on

    I totally agree than it’s such an over-reaction to forcefully raid a place with guns drawn. I think dispensaries *want* to be as good neighbours as possible and would do anything to comply with the police and the community. A little tact on the law enforcement’s part would go a long way to making our coexistence much more peaceful.