Smitherman hoping to cash in on medical marijuana industry
Published Saturday, April 19, 2014 7:20PM EDT
Ontario's former health minister George Smitherman is hoping to become a licensed medical marijuana producer.
The politician -- who once ran to be Toronto’s mayor -- has joined forces with the city's former deputy police chief Kim Derry and a Markham pharmacist.
Smitherman confirmed to CTV News on Saturday that they are in the process of preparing an application and have already secured a property in Uxbridge for their planned licensed grow-up. Uxbridge is a township located northwest of Toronto, in Durham Region.
The trio joins hundreds of other Canadians who are hoping to become legal pot dispensers under Health Canada's new rules.
Under the new regime -- which came into effect on April 1 -- licensed users who smoke pot to treat conditions such as cancer, multiple sclerosis and arthritis will be required to purchase their marijuana from a licensed commercial operation. There are about a dozen of those currently in Canada, but that number is expected to increase.
As of early February, Health Canada had received more than 450 applications from prospective marijuana producers.
Those who are successful in their application could cash in on a lucrative business. According to Health Canada, the number of medical marijuana users in Canada could jump to between 300,000 and 400,000 within a decade.
A recent Federal Court ruling injuction will allow patients to continue growing their own pot under the old rules for now, but the new system will still proceed as planned.