Is Canada’s Medical Marijuana Industry Spiralling Out Of Control?
Much is being made of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s plan to legalize and regulate the recreational use of marijuana in Canada. But licensed producers in the already-legal medical marijuana sector are growing impatient with the slow pace of urgently needed reforms.
The current state of affairs is hazardous for the health and safety of Canadians, according to the Canadian Medical Cannabis Industry Association (CMCIA). The organization represents medicinal cannabis producers who are licensed and inspected by Health Canada.
The CMCIA says the government has lost control of the current system, which only officially allows for the dispensing of marijuana through the postal system. Nonetheless, unregulated “gray market” dispensaries are sprouting up across the country, leading to police raids and health hazards.
“The situation is getting out of control,” Colette Rivet, Executive Director of CMCIA said in a press release:
Trudeau promised that legalization would help combat the black market for cannabis. But Rivet and the CMCIA see the opposite happening: the uncertainty surrounding the law is benefitting criminal organizations:
Marc Emery and other prominent activists, who don’t consider many of the gray market dispensaries to be “criminal organizations,” want the prosecutions of dispensary owners to stop. Mark Haulk — the owner of the Saskatchewan Compassion Club, which was raided by police in October 2015 — told reporters, “I only wanted to help people who needed their medicine.”
But the one thing everyone agrees on is the dire need for clarity regarding the legality for cannabis. However, they want Trudeau to stop the police raids and allow the “gray market” dispensaries to continue operating in peace.
At this point, the only thing that’s clear is that dispensers on both sides of the law are equally frustrated with the lack of direction coming from Ottawa.
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