Article by Andrew Dreschel, Hamilton Spectator
The operators of illegal pot stores may be in for a rude awakening if they hope to transition into legitimate businesses after cannabis is legalized.
Ontario Finance Minister Vic Fedeli has warned the province won’t “want to do business with people running an illegal business” when marijuana becomes legal on Oct. 17.
And even former storefront vendors who bailed out of the unlawful trade could be blacklisted.
Ontario is still conducting public and community consultation regarding the framework for its private retail stores.
But Jason Thorn, Hamilton’s general manager of planning and economic development, notes no illegal dealers will qualify for licences if the Ford government follows the “Alberta model” when it launches its retail cannabis stores on April 1, 2019.
Alberta has decided that applicants who are or once were in the illegal cannabis trade, including retail or medical sales, won’t be eligible for a retail licence.