Canada’s Legalization Chief Quietly Meets MMJ Advocates

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Bill Blair, the Canadian government’s point man on marijuana legalization, has held “behind the scenes” meetings with advocates of licensed and unlicensed medical cannabis dispensaries, listening to their suggestions for how the government should regulate the MJ industry.

Blair had recently lambasted dispensary owners as people “who don’t care” about the law or regulations, the Globe and Mail reported. But since then the Liberal lawmaker and Toronto’s former police chief has met quietly with Rosy Mondin, co-founder of the Cannabis Trade Alliance of Canada, which represents legal and illegal marijuana business owners.

According to the Globe and Mail, Mondin said Blair was “engaged and interested” while she argued the government should license private dispensaries and their growers. The Liberal government plans to introduce recreational cannabis legalization legislation by next spring.

And earlier this month Blair met again with Mondin, and among other things asked her which dispensary owners and unlicensed growers should be interviewed by a federal-provincial task force working on adult-use marijuana regulations. He’s also met with other industry advocates.

Under federal law, the only legal way to buy medical marijuana is through one of Canada’s 20-plus licensed MMJ producers. But only about 60,000 Canadians are registered with Canada’s legal medical cannabis program, compared with an estimated 200,000-300,000 people who buy their MMJ through unlicensed dispensaries, most of them in British Columbia.