A definite need for weed

They had a need for weed.


It was like being among bees craving pollen. Or perhaps mice hungry for cheese.

While the demand was definitely there, the supply and distribution was not — for at least part of Friday.

The scene outside Cannabis Culture, at 461 Church St., was one of people jonesing for weed — something out of a zombie movie.

“When are they opening?” asked a person who came up to the door and discovered it was locked.

First it was supposed to be noon ... then 1.p.m. ... then 2 p.m. ... and then 3 p.m.

Finally salvation came at 3:40 p.m.

Store manager Jamie McConnell made the decision to open after learning Marc and Jodie Emery — owners of the Cannabis Culture brand — had been granted bail on their drug trafficking charges.

When he opened the doors, customers flooded in. About 20 people — despite the bitter cold — waited all day for the doors to be open.

With the opening in limbo, an old-fashioned corner dope dealer lurked in a doorway next door — just like you might have seen before fancy storefront pot shops opened up.

“I actually hate that guy,” this pusher said of Emery. “I don’t care when he opens up again.”

He was filling the void left thanks to the police raid that put Emery in jail.

“They are closed,” he said like a true hustler to passersby. “You want to pick something up?”

Some of those more anxious did just that.

But once the store opened, he was out of business again. Inside, the joints got rolled and stoners were getting high. They flaunted the law like it’s nothing. So much for shutting them down.

Nice people in there, though. They are committed. They don’t think they are criminals. They feel they are pioneers.

The whole time photographer Stan Behal and I were in there we had one eye on the door waiting for a response from Toronto Police.

You know it’s coming.

If marijuana ever becomes legal — as Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has promised — it’s government and big business who plan on cashing in without involving those who have been pushing for its legalization.

Judging from the people waiting for their pot Friday, there’s lots of demand — no matter who supplies it.


Some history is being made this week in a few locations across the country, including 461 Church St.

But long before this location was a famous pot shop, it was a famous steak house. One of the city’s most famous — Bigliardi’s.

And decades before Marc and Jodie Emery were making headlines, there was a famous proprietor there named George Bigliardi — and his even more famous clientele.

So many legends went through there, including Frank Sinatra, Tony Bennett, Alicia Keyes, Joe Torre, Michael Douglas and Gordon Lightfoot.

The location George Bigliardi turned into one of Toronto’s “it” places still sports the old mahogany on the walls and there are lots of memories floating in the weed-filed air.


Speaking of legends: Happy 84th birthday Mel Lastman.

The former megacity mayor had his birthday Thursday.

There has been three mayors since the Bad Boy retired but n-o-o-o-body who followed forgets Mel.

— Scrawler out!

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