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Organized crime’s alleged ties to legalized cannabis in Canada

By Sean McCaughan
Nov 08, 2018

In addition to widespread shortages and an illegal market nipping at their heels, some cannabis entrepreneurs in Canada may now have to worry about “getting whacked” or “taking a long walk off a short pier” or even trying on a pair of “concrete shoes.”

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Those references might be a little fanciful (they’re classic mafiosi references to murder) but, according to a report by CBC News, it appears some major players in Canada’s cannabis industry have ties to organized crime, drug traffickers, and even the mafia. None of these individuals were named by the CBC.

Although the legalization of cannabis was supposed to cut out organized crime, according to the report Health Canada has granted production licenses to companies and individuals with ties to the criminal underworld. This is despite the security screening Health Canada requires as a prerequisite for licensure.

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Health Canada is defending its security procedures, saying to the CBC that it can "categorically confirm" that it didn't issue "security clearance to an individual when the RCMP provided evidence to the department that it was associated with organized crime." Additionally "Health Canada has found no evidence that organized crime has infiltrated one of more than 130 federally registered producers.”

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