What’s the difference between an RCMP raid on a dispensary and a robbery by a common thief? Pretty much nothing.
On Dec. 30, last year, Black Crow Herbal Dispensary in Vernon, British Columbia was the victim of an armed robbery that saw the assailants take off with cash and cannabis.
The robbery came after a verbal warning from the local RCMP dispatch that all medical cannabis dispensaries in the city would have to close their doors. If the dispensaries didn’t comply, the RCMP would reserve the right to do what the thieves just did to Black Crow — walk in with guns and walk out with cash and cannabis.
Of course, the difference is that the RCMP has the legal authority to do this, but what’s legal isn’t necessarily lawful.
The commonality between the RCMP and the thieves is that neither is really providing a service to the community. Even if dispensaries were loathed in the city of Vernon (which they’re not), it would still be impossible to determine whether the police actions were beneficial for residents.
Did you personally sign a contract with the RCMP?
If an insurance agency tried to establish a monopoly and force people to pay based on some vague “social contract” there’d be protests in the streets.
If raiding dispensaries is beneficial, that is, if opening and running a dispensary violates the property rights of the residents of Vernon, then the residents must demonstrate this value by voluntarily choosing this policing service.
For example, in other sectors of society, some patients may use the Vernon dispensary MMJ Total Health Care instead of Black Crow, where others may bypass dispensaries altogether and use a licensed producer or just go back on pharmaceuticals. Some may try growing their own cannabis.
There is no right or wrong answer when it comes to individual action demonstrating preference. What’s important is the freedom to choose.
When it comes to cannabis medicine, Vernon patients have five options, where Vancouver residents have over 100 (until the city physically limits that number for aesthetic reasons). When it comes to coffee shops, there are 1,324 Star Bucks across Canada, and 3,468 Tim Hortons, as well as thousands of other mom-and-pop caffeine dispensaries.
When it comes to law and order, Canadians have zero options.
Even after electing a Liberal government to legalize cannabis, the RCMP continue to raid dispensaries with legal experts saying that Justin has virtually no control over the matter.
Now, he could exercise some influence with his Justice Minister, but ideally, we don’t want politicians with the ability to control what the RCMP does or doesn’t enforce.
Majority rule shouldn’t dictate police policy. It may sound great when Justin is Prime Minister and helping out the cannabis culture, but this is the same state apparatus that Stephen Harper once occupied.
Be careful what you wish for.
No, the best option here is to find out what works and repeat it. When responding to Pamela McColl, the Vancouver Police described how there are certain checks and balances in place to ensure that the police don’t become the coercive arm of the ruling political class.
That’s a good first step, but it can be taken further. Police services can better reflect community interests if members of the community demonstrate their preference by voluntarily exchanging the funds needed to run police departments.
I don’t think anyone would reasonably argue that police services aren’t needed. I don’t think entrepreneurs wishing to provide law and order services will find a lack of demand. In fact, the more people offering policing-type services, the higher the quality, since inefficient or corrupt cops (like ones that raid dispensaries) will face bankruptcy.
The key is voluntary exchange. Without it, the RCMP funding mechanism is not so different from the thieves hat stole from Black Crow.
Just as you can’t negotiate with a thief who is out to rob you, without the ability to withdraw payment and patronize a competitor, the RCMP will continue wasting taxpayer money on a service nobody wants.
Here are some other blog posts that touch upon that same topic: