Pubdate: Tue, 11 Apr 2017
Source: Record, The (Kitchener, CN ON)
Copyright: 2017 Metroland Media Group Ltd.
Author: Jim Bronskill
Page: A3


RCMP says it's too early to determine criminal activity in production
of marijuana

OTTAWA - It's too early to know how pot legalization will affect
criminal involvement in the illicit marijuana market, the RCMP says.

The Mounties add that they will work with the federal government "to
the extent possible" to ensure policies are in place to prevent crime
networks from taking advantage of a newly legal marijuana trade.

The cautious RCMP assessment - spelled out in December notes recently
obtained by The Canadian Press through the Access to Information Act -
stands in contrast to the Trudeau government's mantra that
legalization will remove pot profits from criminal hands.

The Liberals plan to introduce legislation Thursday to put
legalization in motion.

The government wants to decriminalize marijuana consumption and
incidental possession and create new sanctions to more severely punish
those who provide pot to minors or drive under its influence.

But the legislation will be just a starting point, as the federal and
provincial governments sort out questions about availability, sale,
pricing and taxation, as well as penalties for misuse.

A federal task force on legalization and regulation of cannabis has
recommended maintaining criminal offences for illicit production,
trafficking, import and export, along with administrative penalties
for breaches of licensing rules on production, distribution and sale.

But the task force acknowledged there would still be attempts to
operate outside of the legal regime.

Justice Minister Jody Wilson-Raybould said Monday the new system would
regulate the marijuana trade to "keep it out of the hands of children
and the proceeds out of the hands of criminals."

The internal RCMP notes indicate the Mounties aren't so sure. "The
RCMP is concerned with the involvement of organized crime in the
illicit cannabis market," the notes say. "It is too early to determine
what potential impact the government of Canada's commitment to
legalize cannabis may have on the involvement of organized crime in
the illicit market."
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MAP posted-by: Matt