Medical Cannabis Producers Jockey for Top Spot as Legalization for Recreational Use Looms

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Medical cannabis sellers are in Vancouver this week hoping to catch a glimpse of what their future may hold in light of the looming federal legalization of recreational marijuana.

Workshops at the International Cannabis Business Conference that began Thursday and continue Friday include titles like “Safeguarding medical marijuana as legalization unfolds” and “The future of dispensaries in Canada.”

The medical marijuana industry has flourished in the past decade, dominated by federally illegal but municipally sanctioned dispensaries. These small businesses operate despite a federal dispensary system led by large-scale producers.

Both stand to lose or win big depending on how Ottawa rolls out legalization across the country this spring.

“I’m not sure how it’s going to play out, but it’s going to be a very challenging situation for a lot of people,” said Dana Larsen, a Vancouver-based dispensary owner and legalization advocate.

“I’m not very optimistic that they’re going to recommend integrating dispensaries into the legal system.”

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