Article by Jacquie Miller, Ottawa Citizen
The cannabis industry is alarmed by an amendment in Canada’s proposed marijuana law that would require companies to make public the identities of shareholders.
A public list of investors is needed to prevent organized crime from infiltrating the industry when recreational marijuana is legalized, said senators who adopted the amendment.
Canadian medical cannabis companies have already received millions of dollars from “anonymous rich investors” based in offshore tax havens in the Cayman Islands, the Bahamas and other countries, warned Sen. Claude Carignan, who proposed the amendment to the Cannabis Act, Bill C-45.
Tax havens are well-known as fronts for organized crime, Carignan said. “If we want to combat organized crime, we must prevent these groups from entering the legal cannabis market anonymously or through havens.”
The bill to legalize recreational marijuana is now before the House of Commons, which will decide whether to accept, reject or amend the 45 amendments approved by the Senate.
Cannabis executives say the amendment is unfair because other companies are not obligated to publicize a list of shareholders. “I am baffled by why one industry would be treated differently than investments in any other legal business in Canada,” said Terry Lake, an executive with cannabis grower Hydropothecary in Gatineau.