OTTAWA | As Canada’s newly elected Liberal government is on the verge of legalizing marijuana, thousands of Hells Angels members have taken the Parliament by storm yesterday to protest the new proposition.
The legalization of marijuana could cost the organized crime hundreds of thousands of jobs, believes the spokesman for the Canadian chapter of the Hells Angels, Jean-Roch Fournier.
“We estimate that Prime minister Justin Trudeau’s radical proposition to legalize marijuana could cost us over a hundred thousand jobs” says the former lawyer. “From growing operations, to trimming, packaging, transportation and selling, this new legislature will threaten the livelihood of hundreds of thousands of Canadian workers” he warns.
A multi-billion dollar industry
The legalization of marijuana could bring in between 5 to 12 billion dollars to the Canadian economy each year, reveals a recent 2014 joint study by the University of British Columbia and Simon Fraser University.
“Our research suggests more than 7,366,000 people in Canada use pot and we estimate the Canadian pot industry is worth between $5 billion and $12 billion a year, depending on suggested prices” explains Economics professor, Zahir Mahalik.
“Our study evaluated not only the legalization of cannabis on a recreational use basis but also for its inherit potential in the medical and pharmaceutical business, which explains the high numbers” he acknowledged. “It is obvious the legalization of marijuana will cause major profit losses to organized crime organizations nation-wide” he told local reporters.
A massive blow to organized crime
Many members of organized crime fear they will lose their way of life if legalization is implemented.
“I’ve been selling weed since I’m 12 years old” admits Gino Ouellet, aged 56 and Hells Angels member for the past 36 years. “Do you think I’m going to want to go work at Wal-Mart or McDonalds at minimal wage? I don’t think so” he told reporters.
“Who’s going to want to give me a job? I’ve got tattoos all over my body and all over my face” asks another protester, Bob Wilkinson, condemned in 1977 for triple homicide. “It’s not the job of the federal government to regulate illegal drugs, they should take care of their own business and leave that to us” he argues.
If marijuana were legalized in Canada, it would be a first among developed nations. In the US, four states and Washington, DC, have legalized pot, but it is still illegal at the federal level.