Article by Solomon Israel, Leaf News
Greg Engel, CEO of licensed cannabis producer Orgranigram, was the target of online criticism last week after Yahoo! Finance Canada published an article in which he called for better enforcement of Canada’s new cannabis laws.
Critics complained that Engel’s comments amounted to calling for police to arrest his black market competition, but the cannabis executive now says his remarks are being misconstrued.
“I’m not supporting or advocating for police enforcement or activities in any shape or form,” Engel said in an interview with The Leaf News.
“There’s a path to move into the legal market, and if you’re looking to shut down the black market I think there’s ways to do it without (police) enforcement.”
Engel argues that the federal government has made itself responsible for regulating all cannabis in Canada, but isn’t doing enough to bring the unregulated market to heel. Specifically, he’d like to see Ottawa go after the banking and payment processing services used by illicit cannabis dispensaries.
“If you are an unlicensed dispensary, selling today, then a bank should not be banking you, because it’s an illegal operation,” he said. “And that’s what I mean by ‘enforcement’.”
The Organigram CEO acknowledged that Canada’s legal cannabis industry was made possible by people who broke the law to sell cannabis, and said he supports efforts for criminal justice reform in the cannabis space.