Canadian prime minister seeks crackdown on illegal dispensaries

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Though the Canadian government is on track to legalize recreational cannabis in 2017, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said he’s frustrated with illegal medicinal marijuana storefronts and wants police to enforce the law.

Trudeau wants to put an end to dispensaries that say they are federally licensed but are not among the nation’s licensed producers, the Toronto Star reported Saturday. Many of these illegal storefronts have sprouted up in Canada, particularly in Toronto.

Medical cannabis currently is legal in Canada with a doctor’s recommendation. But patients may obtain marijuana only by registered mail from the country’s 36 producers or by cultivating it at home in limited quantities.

“People are right now breaking the law,” Trudeau told the Star’s editorial board. “We haven’t legalized it yet.”

Canada’s recreational marijuana market could go online as soon as spring 2017, but exactly when is unclear. For it to happen that soon, the existing license holders would likely be the first to start selling adult-use cannabis.

The country’s adult-use marijuana market could reach sales of 6 billion Canadian dollars ($4.5 billion) by 2021, have 3.8 million rec users and a demand for roughly 1.27 million pounds of recreational and medical cannabis, according to a recent report.