Madam Speaker, I thank my hon colleague for spending his evening with me on this very important matter.
As I mentioned last week, Izabela and other parents from my riding of Spadina—Fort York have told me about the proliferation of illegal cannabis shops operating in our community. Many of these illegal stores are using targeted ads and promotion to attract children, and these unscrupulous illegal businesses are also selling copycat edibles that look like candy. However, some of the products have actually poisoned children.
The problem exists because there has been a serious lack of enforcement of the many regulations that legitimate Canadian cannabis businesses must follow. Ignoring these rules has allowed the black market to flourish. Many of these illegal businesses make upwards of $50,000 a day, according to some reports. Most are operating 24-7, selling their unregulated and contaminated products that, and I cannot emphasize it enough, target children. Some have even set up businesses right across the street from a school.
Some parents have tried to organize against these illegal cannabis shops, but they have been warned to stay quiet or face retaliation. People are also afraid to even sign a petition against these operations using their real names, and they only do so anonymously.
Parents are left feeling threatened, helpless and hopeless. The growth in these illegal businesses is unacceptable and very dangerous to our youth. Moreover, the millions that are gained from selling illegal cannabis is often used to buy firearms and fund organized criminal activities, major crimes like money laundering and human trafficking.
While I commend police in Spadina—Fort York, especially 14 Division, for their work in trying to shut down these illegal stores, they cannot do it alone. I hope the federal government will assist police in closing these illegal operations, so I want to ask my hon. colleague what the government is prepared to do to crack down on these illegal pot shops.