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A west-Windsor pot shop that made headlines after being busted for selling marijuana without a retail licence earlier this month has shifted gears — Compassion House is now giving it away in exchange for donations to local food banks.
Windsor Police Services took owner Leo Lucier and several volunteers into custody at the shop on Tecumseh Rd. at Church St. back on Nov. 6. While marijuana is now legal in Canada, retail sales won't be allowed until April of 2019.
Lucier argued the proceeds from those sales were being converted into charity items and that issue will go before the courts, but in the meantime, his crew of volunteers has spent the past week trading joints for more than five truck-loads of canned goods and toiletries, along with four loads of coats.
Volunteer Terry Pargelen tells AM800 News the shop is trying to follow through with its original plan and stay within the law.
"We're taking can donations because everybody needs to eat this time of year, everybody needs to eat regardless," he says. "We're just trying to give back to the community as much as possible and end hunger with my boss' brain-child of ending hunger with marijuana."
He says more than a thousand people have come through the doors with cases of canned goods in some instances.
"The response has been overwhelming. If you see inside of our shop, we have very little space to move anything anymore because of how many donations of canned goods and coats and everything that's been brought in," added Pargelen.
He says a steady stream of items has continued throughout the week.
"As soon as it's here it's going out the door to help them right away, we got a call from the Windsor Youth Centre yesterday saying their pantry was bare and empty and Leo [Lucier] went over there and looked at their pantry and said, 'I'll be back in 20-minutes.' He went back with a truck load of food to help them get through the weekend,” says Pargelen.
Compassion house will take the day off Sunday but plans on continuing the initiative. The 28 year old says a toy-drive will be launched in early December.