Written by Mike Hager for The Globe and Mail.
Contrary to common RCMP wisdom, organized crime groups play a relatively small role in Canada’s underground cannabis trade, and the majority of people behind the country’s illegal grow operations and dispensaries are otherwise law-abiding, a group of academics and small-scale marijuana businesses have told the federal legalization task force.
A written submission co-authored by a prominent criminologist on behalf of a drug-policy advocacy group cites government data that showed just 5 per cent of marijuana criminal cases over an eight-year period had links to organized crime or street gangs.
And the groups warn that overestimating the role of organized crime will create a new regime that will be too restrictive and simply perpetuate the black market.
The federal Liberal government is soliciting input from across the country as it prepares to introduce legislation next spring to legalize recreational marijuana, which it says is necessary to stop young Canadians from getting easy access to the drug and to stop the flow of profits to violent criminal gangs.