In case you missed Canopy CEO Bruce Linton on BNN, or Bill Blair’s February 2018 interview, here are some recaps to boil your blood.
1. “Canada’s leading pot players are preparing for a historic transfer of wealth.”
And similar to how the current South African president is expropriating farmland from white farmers, or how Pierre Trudeau once expropriated Alberta’s oil industry, Justin Trudeau’s Liberals are expropriating BC’s unique strains and genetics from the original farmers and homesteaders.
2. “There will be a multi-year rollout where I think we really do become the source,” Canopy CEO Bruce Linton told BNN
The source of what? Corporate cannabis? Infiltrated by former cops, producing pesticide-ridden cannabis radiated before putting on sale to the public? A public that has been and would rather buy from the growers who have been doing it for decades and have all the knowledge and expertise.
3. “It’s similar to the time after prohibition,” industry expert Jay Rosenthal told BNN in an email. “Once the legal ban was lifted, consumers stopped drinking moonshine because better, safer options were available,”
It’s similar but not the same.
First, cannabis is not a toxin like alcohol and will not kill you.
Second, the time period of prohibition has been longer, the social taboo stronger, the underground culture has been given more time to germinate. By the time Justin Trudeau promised “legalization,” it was the blooming of this culture into the mainstream that made his empty political rhetoric a feasible campaign plank.
4. “Buying untraceable cannabis from a guy in a parking lot is just not going to be able to compete.”
Who does this still? The jurisdictions that have been sane enough to leave dispensaries alone have solved this problem. That’s legalization.
5. According to Statistics Canada, Canadians spent an estimated $5.7 billion on cannabis last year, with the illegal recreational cannabis accounting for the vast majority of that sum at $4.6 billion.
That statement itself shouldn’t make your blood boil, but the fact that the political establishment sees this as a problem is an obvious issue.
$4.6 billion of “illegal cannabis” was in most part the result of a peaceful industry in British Columbia colloquially known as “BC Bud.” That this fact gets ignored should certainly make your blood boil, even if you don’t use cannabis and have no skin in the game. As a matter of pure justice, what Trudeau’s Liberals are doing is plain wrong.
6. “The easiest money criminals make is in the illegal production and sale of cannabis,” Bill Blair, parliamentary secretary to the justice minister, told BNN
What exactly does Blair mean by “criminals” and “easiest”? Growing good quality cannabis is not easy. Perhaps, Blair means compared to armed robbery or getting away with a murder. But still, one would think, in the criminal world of gangs, holding up a convenience store would be “easier money” than producing cannabis clandestinely, finding a buyer, and doing all the other necessary things to move product. Most certainly, Blair is being hyperbolic here.
7. Blair continues: “We’re now going to compete effectively with them and give Canadians a better, more responsible choice at a competitive price.”
If you define “better,” “more responsible,” and “competitive price” to mean their complete opposites, then we’re getting closer to a truthful statement. In the meantime, get that blood boiling, Blair made this statement post-recall.
There is no credence to the idea that the LPs are somehow more responsible or of higher quality than the wretched “BC Bud” that is often crapped upon and delegated to the term “organized crime” which inevitably conjures up images of urban thugs and motorcycle gangs.
Bill Blair is simply doing what cops and politicians do best: lie.
8. Blair continues: “I’ve been fighting those same criminals for most of my entire adult life. And of course, they’re going to play dirty. And so we’re going to make sure that law enforcement has the resources, the technology, the training and the tools they need to deal effectively with that criminal enterprise.”
And this, ladies and gentlemen, if nothing else, should make your blood boil.
Legalization is going to cost taxpayers more. It’s going to require more funding for police. There will be harsher laws to crack down on the “criminal enterprises.”
9. “The battle against the black market will not be won on price alone,” Aphria CEO Vic Neufeld told BNN in an email. “Health Canada regulations for product quality and testing are paramount for ensuring the adult-use market has access to safe, clean and pure cannabis products – something not offered by the illegal market.
Translation: we cannot beat our competitors based on free markets alone. We need the heavy hand of big-government regulations to give an illusion of product quality and testing. These tools are paramount to ensuring that the costs of producing and selling cannabis are too large to be undertaken by the current illegal but lawful market.
10. “Illegal activities are extremely entrepreneurial,” Linton told BNN in a television interview. “There are quite a few other fields you can put your money into. I don’t think this has been their best growth area for a long time…I think it will just sort of ween off slowly.”
And that gets to the crux of the issue. If these illegal cannabis producers move to other illegal activities, then I guess their heart really wasn’t in it. In that case, Linton is right and the black market will just ween off cannabis slowly and focus on other ways of generating income.
But I think Linton will find this weaning off process reach its limit. There will remain a core group of entrepreneurs who are passionate about cannabis, have been for years, where some have even served time for it.
If locked out of the legalization process, whether due to past criminal history, or insufficient funds thanks to artificial costs imposed by the federal government — these people will not disappear.
They will not shift over to other illegal activities since their interest in cannabis has nothing to do with its legal status.
If corporate newcomers like Canopy “become the source” of cannabis in Canada, without the participation of BC Bud, then these people will, as Blair said, “play dirty.”
Best not to get to that point and just open the market for all.