The success or failure of cannabis legalization comes down to one thing: beating the black market. So what do dealers think?

It’s a case of My Guy versus The Man: who will you buy your pot from? As legalization looms, governments across Canada are angling for a generous slice of what was a $5.7bn marijuana business in 2017. The rules vary across the country – some provinces will permit licensed private retailers; others will sell pot exclusively through government stores – but success will ultimately depend on just one thing: beating the black market.

So is that black market worried? Two Toronto-based dealers agreed to speak with us. Gord, 44, has been selling marijuana full-time since he was 16, and his business had the trappings of a retail empire, with business cards advertising Smiley Face Delivery. Ray, 45, who began selling 17 years ago, is more modest in his ambitions. “I have a day job,” he said. “I do this for the extras, so I can take my wife out to an expensive dinner. I don’t really look at it as a serious business. It’s as much a cultural thing.”

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