How hard is it to get weed from Toronto’s new marijuana dispensaries?

How hard is it to get weed from Toronto’s new marijuana dispensaries?

(Image: Stephen Spencer Davis)

The law says Canadians are allowed to buy their medical marijuana only by mail, from one of a small handful of officially licensed producers. Despite that, a new wave of weed entrepreneurs, not willing to wait around for Justin Trudeau’s promised legislative changes, are opening up mom-and-pop weed shops all over Toronto. There are now dozens of storefront dispensaries in the city, all of them operating outside the law.

In the absence of any real rules, these dispensaries have had to make up their own. Some of the stricter places require customers to have prescriptions from doctors. Other weed stores, meanwhile, are almost laughably flexible. To get a sense of how difficult it is to get the green stuff, we phoned or visited ten dispensaries anonymously and quizzed the counter staff.

Queens of Cannabis

848 Bloor St. W.

Vibe: Passersby might mistake the colourful new shop for a place dealing in glittery cellphone cases or frozen yogurt.

Notable wares: T-shirts, scarves, massage oils, salves and tea. A staffer promised free edibles or joints for newcomers.

Pricing: $9 to $15 per gram

Can you get weed without a doctor’s prescription? No. Staffers recommend connecting with the “medical cannabis doctors” at White Cedar, who require a referral from your physician or specialist.

Green Jar

753A Queen St. E.

Vibe: Wholesome. The store promises organic, locally grown, traceable cannabis.

Notable wares: Pineapple shatter, hard candy, white-chocolate oatmeal cranberry cookies.

Pricing: $9 to $15 per gram

Can you get weed without a doctor’s prescription? Yes. Green Jar will accept a doctor’s letter of diagnosis for any condition that medical cannabis can treat. They’re “bringing a doctor on board” soon to write cannabis prescriptions.

(Image: Stephen Spencer Davis) (Image: Stephen Spencer Davis)
 
The CARE Center

948 Bloor St. W.

Vibe: There are couches and chairs, and fresh fruit for members. It’s like a dispensary for PTA parents.

Notable wares: Members can use purchased goods on-site—a definite bonus for anyone seeking immediate relief from serious pain.

Pricing: They won’t discuss pricing with non-members, citing legal issues.

Can you get weed without a doctor’s prescription? Yes. Staff say prospective patients can bring a form to any professional “legally entitled” to diagnose a medical condition—a chiropractor, for instance.

416 Medicinal Health Center

850 King St. W.

Vibe: Right on the King streetcar line and close to Liberty Village, this is the dispensary for the busy urban professional.

Notable wares: One of the priciest strains is something called “God’s Vagina 2.0.”

Pricing: $6 to $20 per gram

Can you get weed without a doctor’s prescription? No. You’ll need a prescription for cannabis from a medical doctor. You can ask your own MD, or the centre can help connect you with a “cannabis-friendly doctor,” a staffer said.

Canada Bliss Herbal Society

3023 Dundas St. W. and 1591 Dundas St. W.

Vibe: High-tech.

Notable wares: Cannabidiol capsules, hash, oils.

Pricing: Grams range from $9 to $15

Can you get weed without a doctor’s prescription? No. But the store helps customers get prescriptions. A meeting with a medical consultant, via in-store video chat, costs $50. As staff explain it, the consultant’s recommendation is sent to an MD, who then writes a prescription.

Cannawide

34 Kensington Ave. and 160 Baldwin Ave.

Vibe: A glowing pot leaf under the word “MEDICAL” beckons you into the small space, where a sticker on the entrance warns you you’re on camera.

Notable wares: Infused cola gummies, medicated green chai tea and “rasta root beer.”

Pricing: $6 to $12 per gram

Can you get weed without a doctor’s prescription? No. If your doctor isn’t keen on medical cannabis, a Cannawide staffer suggests finding a “pro-cannabis” doctor.

Toronto Cannabis Dispensary

66 Nassau St.

Vibe: There’s a security camera pointed at the entrance, and you have to ring a doorbell to be let in. An employee initially won’t let a non-member all the way upstairs, but quickly changes her mind and allows a peek at the merchandise.

Notable wares: Vegan cookies, Mary Jane Tea, caramel popcorn.

Pricing: $9 to $12 per gram

Can you get weed without a doctor’s prescription? No. Customers need prescriptions. Naturopaths and “herbal doctors” don’t count. Staff recommend DrCannabisConsult.com, which promises “guidance and education in the use of cannabis to meet Health Canada’s requirements to use marijuana legally.”

(Image: Stephen Spencer Davis) (Image: Stephen Spencer Davis)
 
Canadian Green Dispensary and Holistic Services

1332 Bloor St. W.

Vibe: Green and white graphics block out all the windows, providing privacy for the discreet customer.

Notable wares: A free weed cookie for first-time patients, and the dispensary expects to start offering massages and Pilates soon.

Pricing: $7 to $15 per gram

Can you get weed without a doctor’s prescription? Yes. Proof of a medical condition is all it takes to register—and they accept documentation from both naturopaths and medical doctors.

Canna Boss

1684 Queen St. W.

Vibe: Slow-moving staff use a cup and scale to fill orders. Customers can help themselves to issues of High Times and Skunk.

Notable wares: Alaskan Thunderfuck, cherry honey oil, caramel chews.

Pricing: $10 to $15 per gram

Can you get weed without a doctor’s prescription? No. An employee recommended GrowLegally, where $250 gets you a meeting with a doctor who can prescribe cannabis.

(Image: Stephen Spencer Davis) (Image: Stephen Spencer Davis)
 
The Toronto Dispensary

556 Church St.

Vibe: All business. Staff won’t let non-members in to look around.

Notable wares: Cake pops, canna tea, and lollipops.

Pricing: They don’t discuss prices with non-members, but prices on their website range from $9 to $12 per gram

Can you get weed without a doctor’s prescription? No. You need a medical prescription. Staff advise speaking to your family doctor.