Pubdate: Sat, 15 Apr 2017
Source: Toronto Sun (CN ON)
Copyright: 2017 Canoe Limited Partnership
Author: Antonella Artuso
Page: 10
Referenced: Cannabis Act:


Smugglers will quickly switch from butts to pot, group says

Ontario's massive contraband tobacco industry can and will easily
switch to the manufacture of contraband marijuana when the product
becomes legal, the head of the Ontario Convenience Stores Association

With no apparent political will to shut down illegal cigarette
factories on Ontario reserves, and the likelihood of high taxes on
pot, the drug is poised to join the distribution system already in
place to move contraband tobacco, OCSA CEO Dave Bryans said Friday.

"If we can't handle the most contentious cigarette problems in
Ontario, we'll not be able to handle marijuana," Bryans said. "We
can't even close illegal marijuana shops throughout this province -
they're in every town, city and village now - let alone control legal

The Justin Trudeau government introduced legislation Thursday to
regulate the sale of marijuana for recreational use and address
drug-impaired driving.

Provincial governments will set the rules for how marijuana will be
sold in their jurisdictions.

The RCMP estimate Ontario already has about 50 illegal tobacco
factories, supplying smokers with a product that is far cheaper than
can be found legally in any store, Bryans said.

"And they have the capability of using those machines to make new
products such as marijuana and flood the market with it," he said,
adding the demand for cheaper marijuana will likely be much stronger
than for tobacco. The Ontario government has announced many steps to
control the spread of contraband tobacco, such as oversight of raw
leaf tobacco and increased fines for those convicted of selling the
untaxed tobacco.

The government measures tend to be "underfunded, as usual, but over
promoted," Bryans said.

"It's almost an epidemic in Ontario and nobody wants to fix it," he

Although OCSA sells tobacco, attempts to expand the business model to
alcohol were soundly rejected by the provincial government, and Bryans
said he doesn't expect convenience stores to be considered for legal
marijuana sales either.

But he said it would be a mistake to allow the vendors currently
selling illegal marijuana around the province to handle the legal product.
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