Senate aims to stymie criminals using tax havens to infiltrate legal pot market

OTTAWA — The Senate wants to ensure that organized crime doesn’t use offshore tax havens to wind up secretly controlling the recreational marijuana market in Canada once cannabis is legalized.

Senators have voted 45-29 to amend the cannabis legalization bill to require that any company that is licensed to grow marijuana must publicly disclose all its shareholders or members who are not based in Canada.

The amendment, proposed by Conservative Sen. Claude Carignan, also garnered support among Liberal independents and independent senators.

Liberal independent Sen. Serge Joyal says police have confirmed that organized crime has already infiltrated the medical marijuana market in Canada.

He points to the fact that 35 of 86 licensed producers are financed in part by unknown investors using tax havens to keep their identities secret.

Joyal says more than $250 million has been invested in Canadian cannabis companies from the Cayman Islands alone.

The Canadian Press

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