The Globe and Mail reports in its Tuesday, May 14, edition that Ontario Premier Doug Ford's chief of staff, Dean French, took multiple steps to urge police forces across the province to launch raids on illegal marijuana storefronts in the weeks after cannabis was legalized. The Globe's Greg McArthur writes that Mr. French sought daily reports on the number of store owners charged by police and the number of stores shut down, and he instructed staff to send letters to police service boards in an effort to instill "some urgency."
Mr. French also instructed staff in an e-mail to discuss "concerns," which he did not detail, about how justices of the peace, the judicial officials who rule on provincial offences, were treating marijuana-related charges.
In a statement in April, the Premier's Office said all of its requests for information about cannabis enforcement were "for the purpose of reviewing the strength of our legislation and policies."
Michael Spratt, an Ottawa criminal defence lawyer, called Mr. French's efforts "disturbing" -- especially, he said, because of his interest in the performance of justices of the peace. "This is definitely across the line of what's proper."
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