Liberal cannabis legalization lead Bill Blair has been holding behind the scenes meetings with cannabis advocates, listening to their input on how the market should be regulated.
According to Rosy Mondin from the Cannabis Trade Alliance of Canada, Blair listened to her argument for the government to allow dispensaries and craft growers to be licensed under future regulations.
Blair then reportedly asked Mondin which dispensary owners and growers the government’s legalization task force should interview to include in the group’s report that will outline recommendations on recreational cannabis legalization.
“We just want [the government] to put out good rules that will help the industry overall, not one particular segment,” Mondin said.
Lawyers Kirk Tousaw and John Conroy were also reportedly invited to speak with Blair. The two lawyers have been heavily involved as counsel for the cannabis industry and medical cannabis patients.
“The whole objective is to make sure you don’t have a black market,” Conroy said.
Conroy said, when meeting with Blair, he discussed the potential for dispensaries having a licensed pharmacist distributing cannabis. Conroy said he also said that cannabis needs to be kept out of liquor stores — something that the Ontario government has put forward as their preferable approach to legal sales.
While Blair’s office wouldn’t confirm the meetings took place, a spokesperson said the MP has been listening to as many different voices as possible on cannabis.
Mondin said if the government truly wants to eliminate the black market, allowing the current industry to enter into the legal, regulated environment is the only way to do it. Mondid said the number of growers who applied to be regulated under the government’s licensed producer program shows there’s a desire to work in the industry, legally.
Licensed producer Supreme Pharmaceuticals president John Fowler said Blair’s meeting with dispensary operators and small growers is a positive sign that the government is being inclusive.
“If you can’t beat ’em, join ’em,” Fowler said. “You see certain legal operators being very upset by black market participants; you see the inverse as well just as clearly.
“The most important thing someone who is in the cannabis industry can do – regardless of what sector that is today – is to look to work with the government.”