cafe cannabis toronto

Toronto's most notorious illegal weed store has no plans of shutting down

Rumours of an impending "funeral" for CAFE — the illegal retail cannabis chain that authorities can't seem to stop — are false, according to the business itself: Closure notices, cement blocks and police raids be damned.

"There will have to be 350 dead bodies on the street before CAFE closes [winking face emoji]," wrote a representative for the chain by email on Monday.

The rep was responding to a question about the validity of some handmade posters currently affixed to the concrete blocks outside its Harbord Street location.

"RIP CAFE," reads one. "Funeral 4:20 Friday @ Harbord. 2016-2019. We will miss you XOXO."

CAFE, which has four locations across the City of Toronto, confirmed that the posters were made by "a random fan" and that there is no official event planned this Friday afternoon to celebrate its life and death.

That's because CAFE is not dying — at least not by its own hand.

Toronto Police and bylaw enforcement officers have conducted multiple raids since April at each of the unlicensed retailer's stores, focusing heavily on the CAFE locations at 66 Fort York Blvd. and 104 Harbord St.

Closure notices for these stores have so far gone unheeded by CAFE, for the most part, even in recent weeks as police efforts have intensified.

From removing barriers erected by the city at their entrances to pulling out lawyers who make use of a strange loophole in Ontario's Cannabis Control Act, CAFE has managed to skirt the rules, time and time again.

This past weekend, employees of the company even got so bold as to sell weed and edibles on the sidewalk in front of two blocked-off stores.

A total of nine people were subsequently arrested and charged for the unlawful sale of a controlled substance outside CAFE's City Place and Harbord Street locations on Saturday and Sunday. Police also seized "a quantity of marijuana" as well as iPads, customer information and some point-of-sale equipment during the raids.

The apparent store employees were all released and will appear in court at a later date.

Meanwhile, CAFE will continue to sell Cannabis and Fine Edibles, as its acronymic name implies, to droves of loyal Toronto patrons until further notice.

Lead photo by

Lauren O'Neil


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