A lot of people like to employ the ol’ Problem Reaction Solution analysis to current events, where “the powers that be” create a problem, wait for the masses to react, then provide the solution that inevitably means raising taxes.

Let’s try it with cannabis in Canada.

Problem: Police are raiding dispensaries despite Justin’s pledge to legalize. In fact, he even said he approves of enforcing prohibition until the Liberals cobble something together.

Reaction: No fair, the juridical branch of Canada has indicated that retail dispensary access is preferable to an exclusive mail-order system. Legalization won’t work if we can’t buy cannabis in a store, on display.

Why not decriminalization? Justin has repeated the same soundbites for over a year. This man is like Canada’s George W. Bush.

Did anyone pay attention before the election when Justin said he wanted to legalize cannabis and restrict it? Kind of an oxymoron, no?

But now here comes the Liberal solution: you can have your dispensaries, but they need government regulation including supplying from commercial LPs.

The Problem Reaction Solution gambit splits the farmer-vendor front, putting dispensary raids on the six o’clock news and leaving growers in the shadows.

Maybe in 2017, when the Liberals speak of “organized crime,” they’ll mean just cannabis growers. Maybe legalization will permit dispensaries.

Until then, the Liberals have made prohibition the problem, especially after an election where Justin promised to legalize. The reaction to that is expected and so the solution is going to be legalizing dispensaries.

A common technique for social engineering or the unintended consequence of democratic rule? You decide, either way, state action creates situations where some benefit at the expense of others.

By contrast, free and fair markets are not zero-sum games. Your profit is not my loss.

But 17 years into the new millennium and this idea has been turned on its head. Governments are looked to as benevolent creatures of the popular will while private enterprise bears the brunt.

So when the Liberals say “legalization,” they mean retail-dispensaries, once raided by the police, now legally open for business, albeit supplying from commercial LPs.

This might satisfy the sensibilities of many but it remains to be seen how well this will work for Canada’s current underground cannabis market.

A miscalculation by the Liberals could put current dispensary owners out of business, favouring newcomers without a cannabis criminal record.

This would likely nullify any farmer-vendor split.

Regardless, any attempt to coerce a “diverse” connoisseur market will either have to conform to existing BC Bud standards or inevitably fail, as many cannabis regulations have in the past.