Fuelling crim­i­nal trade

National Post (Latest Edition) - - LETTERS -

Re: On­tario pot plan en­sures fu­ture of black mar­ket, An­drew Coyne, Sept. 12

An­drew Coyne’s con­tention that On­tario has kept cig­a­rettes “mostly out of the hands of crim­i­nals” is giv­ing the prov­ince too much credit. On­tario has the worst il­le­gal cig­a­rette prob­lem in the coun­try, with an es­ti­mated one in three cig­a­rettes pur­chased be­ing il l egal, of­ten through pur­pose- built il­le­gal smoke shacks. And it is the crim­i­nals who are reap­ing the ben­e­fits — the RCMP has iden­ti­fied about 175 crim­i­nal gangs in Canada in­volved in the trade. Gangs use the pro­ceeds to fund their other il­le­gal ac­tiv­i­ties, in­clud­ing guns, drugs and hu­man smug­gling — of­ten when you see con­tra­band to­bacco busts, other il­le­gal ma­te­ri­als are found on the scene.

On­tario can’t for­get about con­tra­band to­bacco as it turns its at­ten­tion to mar­i­juana. Both are ma­jor probl ems that fuel or­ga­nized crime and hin­der gov­ern­ment reg­u­la­tory ef­forts. Both de­serve at­ten­tion. Gary Grant, Na­tional Spokesper­son, Na­tional Coali­tion Against Con­tra­band To­bacco

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