Ahead of Legalization, Lobbyists for the Marijuana Industry Jostle for a say in Ottawa

Article by Travis Lupick, The Georgia Straight

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In another sign that Canada’s booming marijuana industry has gone corporate, dozens of companies have registered as paid lobbyists ahead of Ottawa’s plan to legalize the drug’s recreational use next spring.

As of March 19, the federal government’s lobbyist registry listed 88 paid positions with interests in marijuana or cannabis. The companies named range from small, independent businesses like Vancouver’s Eden Medicinal Society to large corporations, including the Loblaws chain of more than 2,000 supermarkets across Canada.

An analysis by the Straight revealed the vast majority of lobbyists remain focused on medicinal marijuana, while 24 can be described as focusing entirely or partly on recreational cannabis.

One sector of the industry noticeable in the registry for its relative absence is that of storefront dispensaries. Their leading industry association, the Canadian Association of Medical Cannabis Dispensaries (CAMCD), once had paid lobbyists in Ottawa but abandoned those efforts years ago.

Looking for individual dispen­saries, there are barely more than a handful of storefront chains with lobbyists in Ottawa, and just two from B.C. Those are Eden Medicinal Society and the Victoria Cannabis Buyers Club.

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