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Toronto Police illegally raided a recently opened Toronto vapor lounge dispensary for operating illegally under the legalization of marijuana. A man who was present during the raid said he heard police tell Chris Goodwin, “You said it’s illegal on the VICE video.”

Toronto marijuana dispensary raided after media interview about how it’s ‘totally illegal’

Raid comes on the heels of owners’ interview with VICE.

Toronto police raided a marijuana lounge on the Danforth Thursday, a little more than a week after its owners were featured in a media interview that touted their business as “totally illegal.”

Chris and Erin Goodwin, operators of the Good Weeds Lounge, have been charged with two counts of possession for the purpose of trafficking, relating to marijuana and cannabis resin, plus possession of the proceeds of crime. Erin Goodwin was also charged with simple possession.

The investigation was sparked by “community complaints,” Const. Caroline de Kloet told Metro.

On Jan. 12, VICE published a story on the Goodwins’ business, explaining that Good Weeds is different than other dispensaries that have popped up in the city because it doesn’t require customers to have a medical marijuana license.

“It’s totally illegal,” the reporter explains.

In an interview, the reporter asks Chris Goodwin if he’s afraid of being shut down.

“I have been doing this a long time, and I have complete confidence in what we’re doing. I’ve thought this through endlessly,” he responds. “But I can see how someone looking in from the outside might be a bit fearful.”

Article source Metro News

Two arrested after Good Weeds marijuana ‘bar’ raided by police


POSTED JAN 22, 2016 12:58 PM EST

A man and a woman were arrested Thursday as police raided an east-end Toronto weed bar.

Good Weeds, on Danforth Avenue near Jones Avenue, is a place where customers can not only buy marijuana, but they can also bring their own, and use it on the premises.

Just last week, the owner of Good Weeds confirmed to VICE that he was openly selling dabs (high potency cannabis extracts), bong hits, and other marijuana products, despite it being illegal.

“We elected a Liberal government that’s moving toward legalizing recreational cannabis, and we take that announcement to mean that it’s here now,” co-owner Dan Briere said just 10 days before the raid.

Except it’s not.

The drug squad raided the former Paradise Bar on Thursday because of a complaint, Toronto police said.

Erin Goodwin and Christopher Goodwin were taken into custody. Both have been charged with possession for the purpose of marijuana, possession for the purpose cannabis resin, and possession of proceeds of crime.

Erin Goodwin faces the additional charge of marijuana possession.

A second article on Vice says that police referenced Vice magazine during the raid.

A man who was present during the raid said he heard police tell Chris Goodwin, “You said it’s illegal on the VICE video.”

Good Weeds is now papered over.

The VICE article identifies Chris and Erin Goodwin as co-owners, with Briere, of Good Weeds.

There has been an outpouring of support on the Goodwins’ Facebook pages, with commenters saying Good Weeds “provided a much-needed service to the community.”

Other messages called for the legalization of marijuana and referred to the pair as “activists.”

Erin and Chris Goodwin are set to appear in court on Friday.

Article source City News

Toronto marijuana cafe raided by police; Good Weeds owners face trafficking, possession charges

Alexandra Heck | January 22, 2016 | NP

Their business, one of the first of its kind in Canada, sells marijuana, cannabis resins and extracts, which can be used in vaporizers at the cafe on the Danforth. Gillian Grace/National Post
Their business, one of the first of its kind in Canada, sells marijuana, cannabis resins and extracts, which can be used in vaporizers at the cafe on the Danforth. Gillian Grace/National Post

Two people face multiple charges for drug trafficking and possession after Toronto police raided a Danforth Avenue marijuana cafe and vape lounge.

Christopher and Erin Goodwin, owners of the Good Weeds Vapor Lounge on Danforth near Donlands Avenue, were arrested Thursday evening at the cafe. Their business, one of the first of its kind in Canada, sold marijuana, cannabis resins and extracts, which could be used in vaporizers at the cafe.

The lounge, which opened on Christmas Eve, is part of the Good Weeds chain, which has numerous locations in B.C. and another Toronto location on College Street.

Jaime McConnell was one of about 15 to 20 customers in the cafe on Thursday when, he said, “six drug squad and about six uniforms walked in the front door.”

The police executed a search warrant, questioned customers and handcuffed the Goodwins and McConnell, all of whom were behind the bar. They took the Goodwins into custody, but released McConnell without charge.

Cst. Caroline de Kloet said the search warrant was the result of “a community complaint that led officers to this location.”

In an emailed response de Kloet later wrote, “Medical Marijuana Dispensaries are not legal.”

She said that regulations for producers as well as those outlining access to medical marijuana do not allow for store front operations.

“The Service has been, and will continue, to investigate complaints about these dispensaries and make arrests/lay charges, including ones for trafficking, if appropriate.”

McConnell said he believes the raid was prompted by a video posted online on Jan. 12 by Vice News Canada, which identified the lounge as a “totally illegal” marijuana dispensary.

Chris Goodwin told Vice “we elected a Liberal government that’s moving toward legalizing recreational cannabis, and we take that announcement to mean that it’s here now.”

Both Goodwins are charged with possession for the purpose of trafficking marijuana, possession for the purpose of trafficking cannabis resin and possession of the proceeds of crime. Erin Goodwin also faces a charge of possession of marijuana.

A Facebook posting showing dabs — or a concentrated marijuana extract that can be smoked or vaped — at the Good Weeds Lounge on Danforth.
A Facebook posting showing dabs — or a concentrated marijuana extract that can be smoked or vaped — at the Good Weeds Lounge on Danforth.

Don Briere, co-owner of the Good Weeds Lounge, says the raid of the store is “outrageous” considering the government announced they would be legalizing marijuana.

“We the people voted in a government that said the cannabis wars are over,” he said.

Briere believes that the police are using “willful blindness and negligence,” in raiding the shop and enforcing laws which he says are based on complete lies and misconceptions.

“Why are you doing this?” he asked, “The laws are changing.”

Briere said the Goodwins have been released from police custody.

“They’re out and they’re totally annoyed and miffed about this”

Briere said the shop will re-open as soon as possible.

“They’re going to come out swinging,” said Briere, “they’re going to be talking about criminal misuse of resources and I’m going to back them up on that.”

Their business, one of the first of its kind in Canada, sells marijuana, cannabis resins and extracts, which can be used in vaporizers at the cafe on the Danforth. / Google Maps
Their business, one of the first of its kind in Canada, sells marijuana, cannabis resins and extracts, which can be used in vaporizers at the cafe on the Danforth. / Google Maps

Good Weeds is not the only marijuana lounge to be raided by police on the Danforth.

On September 13, police closed down Melanheadz lounge on Broadview.

The lounge, which opened in 2014 was said to be openly selling hash, marijuana, extracts and edible products without requiring medical marijuana license.

The owner, Peter Melanson, also ran a lounge in Hamilton, which was shut down. He says that Goodwin is a good friend and also one of the pioneers of vape lounges. Goodwin was the first to open a vape lounge in Hamilton, only to have it shuttered by the police.

“It’s a shame it’s still coming to this,” said Melanson, in regards to the recent raid.

He says he will be re-opening Good Weeds on behalf of the Goodwins, but will only operate as a regular vape lounge. They will not be selling any marijuana or extracts.

“We’re not allowed to run the way we want to run,” said Melanson, adding he and the Goodwins will continue to fight for their right to use cannabis.

Article source National Post

The Owners of Toronto’s First Recreational Pot Shop Were Arrested During a Police Raid

By Manisha Krishnan

Staff Writer

The owners of Goodweeds Lounge, a newly opened recreational pot bar in Toronto’s east end, have been charged with multiple trafficking and possession-related offences following a police raid that took place Thursday evening.

Chris and Erin Goodwin opened up the vapour lounge a few weeks ago where customers can purchase dabs and bong hits on site as long as they’re aged 18 and older. No medical prescription is necessary.

But Toronto police confirmed they executed a search warrant at the venue, located at 940 Danforth Avenue, under the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act on Thursday evening.

Both owners are facing charges of possession for the purpose (of trafficking), marijuana; possession for the purpose, cannabis resin; and possession of proceeds of crime. Erin Goodwin has additionally been charged with possession of marijuana. The shop’s windows are currently papered over. A police spokeswoman told VICE the investigation was prompted by a complaint in the community. (So much for the Dabforth…) The couple was scheduled to make a first appearance in court Friday.

Longtime pot activist Jamie McConnell was at Goodweeds when the raid took place; he was due to start working there as a manager today. He told VICE at around 5 PM, a dozen cops—half in uniform and the other half from the drug squad—entered the store.

Chris saw the plain-clothed officers first, according to McConnell, and assumed they were patrons.

“Chris said, ‘$5 dollars guys.’ And Erin said, ‘They’re cops.’ They came around the bar and me, Chris, and Erin were put in handcuffs,” he said.

Around 15-20 customers were there at the time. The cops spoke to them, “I guess to lecture them on the evils of weed,” said McConnell, and then let them go.

McConnell said immediately after entering, the cops shut down the security cameras in the store. He said they referred to another raid they’d been filmed conducting.

The officers pressed Chris Goodwin to admit the shop was illegal, according to McConnell, even referring to a recent segment on Daily VICE.

“They said, ‘You said it’s illegal on the VICE video,'” he said.

“I heard them say to Chris, ‘Is there any big safe or anything? Where are the drugs, we don’t want to tear the place apart.””

He witnessed them confiscate two vacuum-sealed bags of shatter.

McConnell said the officers were “reasonable” considering that the raid was a “complete waste of resources.”

Reached by phone Friday, Goodweeds co-owner Don Briere said the raid amounts to “willful blindness.”

“The cannabis wars that have been raging for 60 to 70 years are now over, as declared by the government. We’d like to know what’s going on,” he said.

He said lawyers will be getting involved and that he thinks the charges will be dropped.

“They’re going to make a big squawk about it it and do all kinds of stuff and as time rolls along it’s going to be dropped.”

McConnell said activists know how to play the system and that’s what he expects the Goodwins to do in this case.

“I don’t see them making plea deals. Just expect a bunch of remands and lawyers and firings,” he said. “I would not be in front of a judge until it’s legal.”

Both men said they hope the shop will be up and running soon.

Article source VICE

Danforth marijuana lounge raided, 2 people charged

Business searched after community complaint, according to police

CBC News Posted: Jan 22, 2016 4:43 PM ET

Toronto police raided Good Weeds marijuana lounge and arrested two people on Thursday night. (CBC News)

The proprietors of an east-end marijuana lounge have been arrested and charged with numerous offences, including possession of the proceeds of crime, after Toronto police raided the shop on Thursday evening.

Officers with the drug squad, 54 division and TAVIS (the Toronto Anti-Violence Intervention Strategy) executed the raid at Good Weeds at 940 Danforth Ave., according to Toronto police.

The lounge was raided based on a search warrant arising from a community complaint, police said.

“Anytime police receive a complaint it is investigated and this [raid] was the result of that,” Const. Caroline de Kloet told CBC News on Friday afternoon.

She could not provide details about the nature of the complaint.

The lounge sells daily, weekly, monthly and annual memberships to users looking for a place to use vaporizers and other marijuana products.

The lounge’s website boasts that it also sells dabs, high potency cannabis extracts, bong hits, vape bags and other marijuana products “and is one of only a few to do so in Canada, out in the open.

“Like buying drinks at a bar, patrons can purchase their products and consume them there, or bring their own,” the website says.

During the raid, police seized “a large quantity of cannabis” in the form of marijuana, resin and edibles, de Kloet said.

Police charged the two accused with:

  • possession of marijuana for the purpose.
  • possession of cannabis resin for the purpose.
  • possession of proceeds of crime.

One of the accused faces an additional charge: possession of marijuana.

Both were scheduled to appear at Old City Hall court on Friday.

Article source CBC

Cannabis in Canada LIVE Jan 21st 2016

Tonights show will start with BREAKING news of the raid in Toronto of Good Weeds Lounge with Don Briere joining Jason in-studio to talk about what’s going on with Erin and Chris Goodwin and the growing Weeds locations’


Good Weeds Lounge at 940 Danforth Ave in Toronto has been raided by police, after opening just four weeks ago.

Operators Erin Goodwin and Chris Goodwin have reportedly been taken into custody at the 54 Division station.

Don Briere co-owns Good Weeds, along with several other dispensaries across the country, and said he’s still waiting for more information after the pair were taken into custody several hours ago during a raid by the drug squad.

“We’ve got people looking at getting them out with a lawyer as soon as possible,” said Briere.

Briere said he’s not sure why the shop was targeted by authorities, who have previously taken a hands off approach to the city’s dispensaries, saying they don’t have the resources to police all cannabis activity.

“It usually only takes one complaint,” said Briere. “You could have a hundred police officers walk by but as soon as they get a complaint with ‘Hi, this is my name and this is my phone number and I’m filing a compliant’ they have to act upon it.”

On Facebook, Jamie McConnell posted that he was at Good Weeds when a dozen police officers entered the shop, placing handcuffs on himself, the Goodwins and three others.

McConnell said all customers were questioned and released and he was also let go when authorities were told he didn’t work there.

Briere said the business has had its windows papered over by police, who have also disabled the store’s live camera feed. To his knowledge, the store has no hidden camera back-up to monitor what authorities are doing in the shop.

“We thought the pot drug war was over, but apparently they want to continue wasting our money while our children are being attacked by pedophiles and violent people are out there,” said Briere. “Why are they selectively assaulting and terrorizing and holding these people in double-maximum isolation compounds for cannabis? This is bullshit.”

Briere said operations like Good Weeds provide a service to patients that need cannabis to live.

“Where are sick people supposed to go smoke their stuff, in school grounds, in parks, out in the street? We gave them a safe alternative to consume their cannabis,” he said.

Briere said he was surprised the raid took place and doesn’t know if this signals a shift in attitude from the city’s police.

“What’s the matter with these guys? The police are telling us they want to raid us, I wonder why — we’d like an answer to that,” Briere said. “We’ve voted in a government in October of last year that’s stated completely and totally that they were moving towards legalization.”

“It’s criminal misuse of public resources.”

Police said the Goodwins were charged with possession with the purpose to traffic and possession of proceeds from crime. Erin Goodwin was charged with possession.

Constable Caroline de Kloet said the raid was triggered by “community complaints.”

Watch our interview with Don Briere on Cannabis in Canada LIVE here.

Article source Cannabis in Canada


GOOD WEEDS 940 Danforth Ave in Toronto

Meet Toronto’s Totally Illegal Marijuana Dispensary and Lounge [VIDEO]

In Toronto’s east-end at 940 Danforth lies the cities very first marijuana vapor lounge/dispensary. Good Weeds Lounge opened just before the new year with plans to expand to two other Toronto locations. In the midst of Liberal MP Bill Blair declaring that marijuana is in need of more control than expected once legalized, the cafe tests the limits of legalization. Daily Vice recently stopped by the groundbreaking 1st location to peel back the curtain a bit.

The Canadian government is currently exploring distributing recreational marijuana strictly through the mail, unlike storefront locations like Good Weeds. “I can see how somebody looking in from the outside could be a bit fearful,” says Chris Goodwin, who acknowledges the uncharted territory his brand is venturing into. Unlike other dispenseries in Toronto, which require customers to prove they are medical mariujana patients, this cafe is totally illegal. Operating from 1PM to 1AM, Good Weeds offers weed, dabs, live magic called AbracaDAB, and a fully functioning live stream at the Danforth location. Currently Good Weeds touts a 5 out of 5 stars rating on Facebook, so the customer reaction to the cafe is obviously stellar. Learn more in the video below.

Post source TRC

Video source VICE

Good Weeds Lounge taking down the Toronto Police brown paper…

A photo posted by Good Weeds Lounge (@goodweedslounge) on

Owner of pot-shop chain vows to reopen Toronto vapour lounge
VANCOUVER and TORONTO — The Globe and Mail
Published Friday, Jan. 22, 2016 9:16PM EST

The part owners of the GoodWeeds shop were charged with possession of marijuana and cannabis resin for the purpose of trafficking, and possession of proceeds of crime, police said. (Fred Lum/The Globe and Mail)
The part owners of the GoodWeeds shop were charged with possession of marijuana and cannabis resin for the purpose of trafficking, and possession of proceeds of crime, police said.
(Fred Lum/The Globe and Mail)

The owner of Canada’s biggest chain of illegal pot shops says that, as long as Toronto police keep raiding his recreational vapour lounge, he will keep reopening the controversial franchise, adding that the public appetite for such enforcement is waning in the face of coming legalization.

Don Briere, owner of 19 Weeds locations throughout British Columbia, said Friday afternoon that GoodWeeds lounge on Danforth Avenue would reopen that evening after a dozen officers executed a search warrant Thursday night and arrested the couple who owns half the business.

Police were responding to a complaint about the conspicuous storefront, which operates like a bar and sells anyone over 18 years old hits of concentrated cannabis extracts or “dabs” without proving a medical need.

“We’re just going to have to open again and we want to know why [Toronto police] are wasting our tax resources,” Mr. Briere said from Vancouver. “The cannabis wars are over.”

Still, Christopher Goodwin and Erin Goodwin, part owners of GoodWeeds, were both charged with possession of marijuana for the purpose of trafficking, possession of cannabis resin for the purpose of trafficking and possession of proceeds of crime, according to Toronto police spokeswoman Constable Caroline de Kloet. She would not release more information about the nature of the complaint against GoodWeeds.

Mr. Briere, who was once imprisoned for running B.C.’s largest network of marijuana grow operations, is one of dozens of entrepreneurs rushing to take advantage of Toronto’s rapid rise as a centre for these dispensaries, which are illegal because they procure and sell their products outside Health Canada’s licensed medical-marijuana system. There is no official tally of dispensaries across Canada but more than 150 are estimated to be operating, with most in Vancouver and Victoria.

In Vancouver, the municipal police force has repeatedly said that its resources are better deployed tackling more dangerous street drugs, such as heroin and fentanyl; it ignored former health minister Rona Ambrose’s demand that officers “enforce the law” and shut down the dispensaries.

Vancouver police have raided 11 shops in the past two years after they were suspected of selling to minors or having ties to gangs such as the Hells Angels, but said it will leave the 100 other operators alone unless they too are suspected such activity.

Toronto police have said they do monitor dispensaries, but have a host of other enforcement priorities.

Most of Toronto’s roughly 40 pot shops allow customers to buy – but not consume – at their stores and require some form of medical paperwork showing the patient says cannabis helps treat a health condition.

Alan Young, a law professor at Osgoode Hall and a past consultant to dispensaries, said the obvious sale of cannabis products to recreational clients likely gained the lounge a bad reputation among some neighbours and forced police to act. He pointed to a similar case last September, where officers shut down another dispensary and vapour lounge called Melanheadz, which was located several blocks away from GoodWeeds.

“If I was advising a client how to avoid problems, I would advise them to keep away from dabs,” said Mr. Young, who added police have shown no great will to go after those operators discreetly offering cannabis to medical patients.

Councillor Joe Cressy, chairman of the panel implementing the city’s harm-reduction drug strategy, said Thursday’s raid was “what we all recognize to be a failed criminalization approach” to marijuana. But Toronto city council will not mimic Vancouver in passing bylaws to regulate these illegal shops, he said.

“For the city of Toronto to establish its own bylaws that could become moot in a matter of months after they’ve been put in place is not the prudent and responsible way to proceed,” said Mr. Cressy, whose ward encompasses the pot-shop hub of Kensington Market.

For now, he said, the city will keep urging the federal government to “move quickly but also responsibly” with a task force headed by MP Bill Blair to craft an approach to legalizing the drug.

Article source Globe & Mail

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