Legalization in Toronto All About the Money

Toronto Mayor John Tory is only in it for the money.

Although he told the media that he supports decriminalization, that he agrees, “people should not have a criminal record for simple possession of small amounts of marijuana,” and that ending prohibition is “something that should have been done years ago.”

But that doesn’t mean he’s cool.

Tory still regards unlicensed dispensaries as a high priority. “They are proliferating again in the city. They’re in stable neighbourhoods and causing disruptions to families in my view and disruption to other retailers,” he said.

Of course, this hasn’t been an issue for many of British Columbia’s communities that have opted to regulate the unlicensed shops. And a study done in LA found retail cannabis having no adverse effects on surrounding communities, and that cannabis alternatives helped keep people off dangerous and deadly opioids.

But I guess Toronto is different.

Different in many senses, since I’ve never heard of a successful game of whack-a-mole. Dispensaries pop up, police shut them down, then they pop back up.

There’s no room in Tory’s Toronto for dispensaries.

It’s “not something that has been legalized or contemplated as legalized,” he said, “the federal government has said nothing about having some wide network of shops on every street corner pop up to sell marijuana.”

Or as Benito Mussolini would say, “All within the state, nothing outside the state, nothing against the state.”

Of course, Tory could mimic Vancouver and license these shops using municipal powers, thereby allowing police to focus on the shops connected with violent crime while leaving the peaceful connoisseurs alone, but common sense and logic have never been the strong suit of government.

I suppose we shouldn’t be surprised. Toronto attempted to shut-down the popular ride-sharing app Uber through a court injunction.

Vancouver, on the other hand, has outright banned any for-profit transit that isn’t government-mandated taxi services or the taxpayer-funded TransLink monopoly.

That these municipalities prefer to wait and allow Ottawa and provincial authorities to make up the rules is expected.

After all, municipalities in Canada are 19th-century fiefdoms, its bureaucrats and politicians merely glorified custodians.

“It wouldn’t be fair to have happen yet again, which happens almost daily around here,” Tory complained to the media, “that the other governments are happy to pass off responsibilities to us to carry out services and do things and not pass off any of the money that goes with it.”

In other words, let the feds do all the regulating and planning since we’ve got enforcement already underway. But where’s the money, Justin? Kathleen says you’re good for it.