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Feds say licences will be revoked if criminal ties found in legal pot businesses

FILE: Medical marijuana is shown in Toronto, November 5, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graeme Roy

OTTAWA (NEWS 1130) – The Trudeau government is on the defensive after news that some investors in legal pot producers have ties to mob activity in Quebec.

One of the federal government’s goals for legalization is to shut out organized crime and keep billions of dollars out of the hands of criminals.

However, a Radio Canada investigation found at least three examples of mob-linked investors, who have clear ties to drug traffickers and the Montreal mafia.

When asked about the revelation, Justice Minister Jody Wilson-Raybould says the switch to a legal system is a transition.

“But there are laws in place to ensure that we do everything we can to capture individuals who are involved in organized crime,” she said. “Working through the transition, it’s not something that happens overnight.”

Montreal Liberal MP Marc Miller calls the claims concerning, and says if the allegations are true, swift action should be taken.

“De-certify, deregulate, and unauthorized these people from being involved in the legal pot businesses,” he said.

Health Canada does security background checks on people who hold senior roles in cannabis companies, and says it has not issued any clearances to individuals flagged by the RCMP.

The Mounties say in 2016 and 17, about 10 per cent of applicants were red flagged.

After Oct. 17, Health Canada says new powers were granted for more in-depth security checks, and the department is currently going through that process.