Black market marijuana growers should be included in the legal market as they can provide valuable expertise as it evolves, Anne McLellan, chair of the federal government’s task force on legalization, said Monday.
McLellan said the Task Force on Cannabis Legalization and Regulation, whose recommendations were broadly adopted in the government’s proposed Cannabis Act, concluded that previous criminal convictions during marijuana’s century of prohibition “shouldn’t be an automatic bar to them coming into the legal system.”
“We didn’t want all those people excluded automatically from the possibility of participating in some way,” McLellan, now a senior advisor at Bennett Jones LLP, said in an interview with the Financial Post on the sidelines of a conference on cannabis regulation organized by the Ryerson University in Toronto.
The task force’s November report called on the federal government to set up a system that allows various-sized producers to participate, including independent and craft growers.
“There are lots of people who are producing now illegally — we talk about artisinal and craft producers — we want a diversity of producers,” McLellan said.
“There’s an awful lot of expertise that’s outside the legal system right now and you wouldn’t want to lose all that.” [Read more at Financial Post]