Former B.C. premier says pot industry about to enter Wild West period

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Former B.C. Premier Mike Harcourt poses for a photo at the Fairmont Empress on Friday, May 25, 2018. Harcourt forecasts a gold rush, boom and bust period, over next year or two in the medicinal marijuana industry. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Dirk Meissner

Former British Columbia premier Mike Harcourt says Canada is about to enter a new gold rush with many dreaming of striking it rich in the marijuana industry.

But he says there will be plenty of losers during the pending cannabis industry shakedown, where qualified and unqualified entrepreneurs search for marijuana riches.

Harcourt made the comments during a keynote address at the annual B.C. Pharmacists Association gathering in Victoria.

He says professional groups like pharmacists who have expertise in dispensing quality products will be in the forefront of the marijuana industry once recreational pot use becomes legal this summer.

Harcourt says the industry can’t ignore the fact it will be competing with major black market ties to marijuana because pot is the largest agricultural crop in B.C. valued at $6 billion annually.

The former premier says he’s staking a claim in the marijuana industry, and is the board chairman at True Leaf Medicine Inc., a B.C.-based medicinal marijuana company.