SFU study finds marijuana industry not fueled by organized crime

VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – Any fears legalizing marijuana will fuel organized crime may be overblown according to research from an SFU criminologist.

Only five percent of the 500 random cases from an eight year period involved anyone with ties to organized crime.

That means the vast majority of growers are otherwise law abiding citizens.

Coauthor of the report Neil Boyd says failing to involve the people who have been growing marijuana for decades would only drive the activity underground. “There are many circumstances in which it would be perfectly appropriate for a person to grow a few plants outdoors or to grow a few plants indoors. I think that is a strategy that will avoid the continuation of the black market.”

Boyd believes restricting sales to places like pharmacies or liquor stores only is unnecessary and will backfire. “Allowing those people who have been historically involved in the cannabis industry for the past 20 years to continue to be involved in some form rather than excluding them is a strategic move in decreasing the likelihood that we will have an illicit market.”

He adds the dispensary model is a good example of how there can be more availability and regulation at the same time.

The report is being submitted by the Canadian Drug Policy Coalition to the task force drafting laws to make pot legal.

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