“That would certainly put some downward pricing pressure on local growers,” he said.

And as Canada’s industry is forced to consolidate to survive, some worry about who will lose out as large, publicly traded companies come to dominate the space.

Long before legalization, many of the first shops to defy Canadian marijuana laws were nonprofit “compassion clubs” selling to people who used cannabis for medicinal purposes.

The current system’s emphasis on large corporate growers and profits has squeezed many people from minority communities out of the business, said Dr. Daniel Werb, an epidemiologist and drug policy analyst at St. Michael’s Hospital in Toronto. Dr. Werb is part of a research group whose preliminary findings have shown that “there is a marked lack of diversity” in the leadership of the new, legal suppliers, he said.

Sellers in Indigenous communities, too, have been left in limbo, generally not subjected to police raids but also outside the legal system, although Ontario has began licensing shops in some of those communities.

“I get more and more concerned about, on the one hand, the lack of ethno-racial diversity and, on the other hand, a lack of imagination around the fact that this didn’t have to be a wholly for-profit industry,” Dr. Werb said. “It seems like there was a missed opportunity to think creatively.”

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