The Mounties Once Feared that Bikers, the Mafia and Mexican Drug Cartels Would Take Over Canada’s Medical Marijuana Industry
Canada’s national police force once feared that the nation’s medical marijuana industry would be taken over by the mafia, Mexican drug cartels and the Hells Angels, according to an internal document that recently surfaced.
“There is no shortage of organized criminal groups who have applied to produce Medical Marihuana,” reads a 2013 report from the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP), which was obtained by The Toronto Star.
The document said the RCMP found specific evidence of the Hells Angels, mafia and Mexican drug cartels trying to get a stake in the new industry.
“The RCMP’s initial background check of applicant ventures have turned up significant hits and raised significant alarm bells inside the Federal Policing program,” the report said.
These kinds of fears have since been repeated continuously both in Canada and the US as legal marijuana markets continue to grow. When working to legalize recreational cannabis nationwide, the Canadian government made cutting off organized crime from involvement with the cannabis trade a central piece of their plan. Law enforcement in Colorado has also claimed the state’s legal cannabis market was an open invitation for drug cartels to set up shop. However, the degree to which organized crime is involved with illicit cannabis at all appears to be slim. Moreover, legalization appears to be an effective way to cut organized crime out of the market for marijuana.
These days, however, the fears of organized crime muscling its way into the legal weed industry seems to have largely abated. Bill Blair — Canada’s Minister of Border Security — says Canada has made an “orderly” transition to full legalization and effectively avoided “the predictions of apocalyptic results.”
That doesn’t mean that the RCMP has forgotten about the issue entirely though.
“The RCMP will continue to work with the Government of Canada to ensure, to the extent possible, that appropriate policies and safeguards are in place to prevent organized crime networks from profiting from legal cannabis,” said Sgt. Marie Damien of RCMP headquarters in Ottawa.
But, seeing as organized crime hasn’t taken over either the legal medical or recreational cannabis markets, there probably isn’t too much to worry about.