An investor in a major Canadian cannabis company has had longstanding ties, including business dealings, with influential Mafia members and drug traffickers, Radio-Canada has learned.
Another investor in the same company has links with a prominent member of the Rizzutos, the powerful Montreal crime family.
In still another case, an individual managed to sell his cannabis business to one of the big players in the industry, despite his connections to drug traffickers. In return, he received shares in the company and rented out space for a cannabis grow-op.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s legalization plan was supposed to cut out organized crime, but an investigation by Radio-Canada’s Enquête shows Health Canada has granted production licences to companies with individuals with links to the criminal underworld.
Enquête examined hundreds of documents as part of its investigation, including reviews conducted by Canadian securities oversight bodies. Enquête is not naming the companies or individuals involved.
For its part, Health Canada says it has not seen any cases of organized crime infiltration of more than 130 licensed cannabis producers since 2013.
To produce cannabis, those who hold certain positions in companies must first obtain a permit from Health Canada by taking a security screening.
Any past connections with individuals related to organized crime are part of the analyzed information.