Five Takeaways from Kirk Tousaw’s Facebook Update

On Friday, Sept. 2, lawyer and cannabis activist Kirk Tousaw sat at a roundtable with members of the federal cannabis legalization task force.

He was invited by the government to represent on his own behalf. On Tuesday, Kirk updated his Facebook status to shine some light on a number of things.

Here are five, with my comments attached.

1. “My key points were that any system has to be inclusive, can’t be so hard to participate in that ordinary Canadians are frozen out, that a cannabis related criminal record should not be any barrier to participation, that legacy producers and distributors need to be included.”

Kirk defended the craft market and for the “legacy producers and distributors” to be included as well, but keeping this market healthy means keeping it free and fair.

Sure, the federal government can act as an arbitrator of last resort, but for every nuance of human action?

B.C.’s cannabis middle-class can lead the way back from bureaucratic serfdom. They can set further examples of industry self-regulation and non-statist means of litigation and contract enforcement.

2. “The group in the room was largely in agreement with much of this and with each other. People were there from public health, from medical professions, from First Nations, from research and from activism. Many familiar faces and some new ones.”

Certain people were invited to a closed door meeting to the exclusion of others.


Well, retail workers don’t sit on corporate boards. The division of labour provides specialization allowing individuals to prosper according to their unique skills and knowledge.

With legalization, the task force is the board of directors, and voters are the workers.

But without economic calculation, who is to say these chosen representatives were the best?

Consumers, through their purchasing power, have indirectly appointed who should produce what and when.

Governments lack the organizing capability to provide this service.

The task force could have invited countless groups to the roundtable. By what process did they act in accordance to what they think Canadians want?

What makes this “best practice”?

Reporting the results of these roundtables to drug czar Bill Blair, who then delivers his recommendations to the government, the entire process is hierarchical and detached from any conscious decision a voter might have made on Oct. 19.

In contrast, markets form based on consensual relations that facilitate exchange. Entrepreneurs serve consumers and produce wealth as determined by the actual exchange.

Governments act by bureaucratic means, one group always profits at others’ expense. The Canada Revenue Agency never stops collecting.

The Liberals are micromanaging without the right tools. Their entire methodology is flawed.

3. “The TF noted that the BC meetings were very good and that they learned a lot throughout this process. They also made clear that different parts of the country look at this issue very differently from each other. Finally, in response to diatribes from Pam McColl (who left at lunch without explanation) they made clear that this was about how to legalize not whether to legalize.”

Pam McColl was there and obviously didn’t get the memo.

What a waste of a seat, why not invite the Cannabis Growers of Canada? Even if the task force ultimately advises against the commercial middle-class industry existing right now?

British Columbia is a cannabis economy whether people like it or not. And like how Pierre Elliot Trudeau’s Liberals nationalized Alberta’s oil, the current Justin Trudeau government is taking action against BC Bud.

If Ottawa is successful, prohibition is still on for British Columbia.

4. “I think that production in the new regime will be federally controlled but that distribution will be provincially regulated. This means that provincial politicians need to be courted, educated and lobbied for the distribution system or systems that will be created. It also means that the current ACMPR producers are very likely to be allowed to participate in the new regime (unsurprisingly and of course they should be permitted like everyone else).”

Sounds like there’ll be some provincial autonomy, but the federal government might be handing out growing licenses.

After all, this is a system where every action needs approval from someone else.

Instead of a free and fair market of insurance, accounting for “licenses” and commerce regulation, we have a one-size-fits-all state apparatus everyone is coerced into paying for.

Even the newborn come into this world as taxpayers owing money to bankers.

5. “In response to a specific question about obstacles in the current regime I said that the security clearance process needs fixing, that the security requirements are nonsense and a huge and unnecessary financial burden, that the timing of processing applications needs to dramatically improve and that the government should set basic quality control standards (eg, labelling requirements and levels of unwanted inputs) but should not micromanage how producers meet those standards.”

This is perhaps the most important. If we are to register with the government like serfs, the least they can do is lower the unnecessary burdens.

The current licensed producer regime was set up by Harper-era drug warriors.

The drug-war mentality still exists with the Liberals. But consumers and producers will shape the market in spite of whatever new prohibitionary controls are implemented.

Quality control is ultimately in the hands of the free market, and no bureaucracy has ever successfully undermined it.

Cannabis will be no different.