The Need for Regulation in the Emerging Canadian Cannabis Market

Don Briere tells reporter Mike Hager that illegal pot dispensaries are a force for good, “drawing the money away from organized crime, who buy guns, heroin, cocaine and do human trafficking.” 

As a pot entrepreneur, activist, and owner of Tokyo Smoke — a Toronto-based, cannabis lifestyle brand — I agree diverting money from organized crime is a good thing. However, the aggressive expansion of illegal dispensaries raises important safety concerns of a different sort. These new dispensaries are 100% unregulated, turning Canada’s cannabis market into the Wild West and distracting consumers from responsible players who are committed to producing and distributing quality products. Although it’s exciting that the market for marijuana is “hot,” we need to ensure that consumers are properly educated and have access to consistently high-quality product, which is not possible at an unregulated dispensary.

To underscore the benefits of effective oversight, we should look to Colorado. After...

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