Muskoka Board of Health Can Butt Out

Sometimes the biggest critics of Canada’s health-care monopoly are the providers themselves.

Citizens love the Soviet-era model, and often decry any moves to free enterprise as “American” or incompatible with “Canadian values.”

As if the only other option was the crony-capitalist insurance scam that has engulfed the United States.

But doctors, nurses and other health-care professionals know better.

Day-in and day-out they are cogs in a wealth-destroying bureaucracy, and as baby-boomers age, it’s only a matter of time until this house of cards folds.

In the meantime, local Muskoka healthcare providers are butting their noses into the cannabis legalization debate, advocating for the same destructive monopoly that plagues healthcare and the alcohol industry.

In a letter to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, the Simcoe Muskoka Board of Health urged a strict regulatory legalization regime.

Janice Greco, a substance misuse manager, said, “A government monopoly on sales and minimum age for buying and using cannabis would help to control the overuse of cannabis product.”

There are several problems here.

For starters, there is no such thing as an “overuse” of cannabis. Sure, if your tolerance is low and you eat too much of a weed-cookie, you might get a little dizzy and white in the face.

Lay down, drink water, be thankful you don’t have to go to the emergency room and get your stomach pumped. There is no lethal overdose of cannabis.

Second, a government monopoly on sales does nothing but line the pockets of career bureaucrats and politicians.

Ontario has strict rules pertaining to the sales and distribution of alcohol, governments provide hard liquor and an international, state-protected cartel provides the beer.

Yet, teenagers are more likely to drink than smoke, and this is with no rules on cannabis sales and strict controls on alcohol.

Besides, 18, 19, 21 or even 25 are arbitrary numbers chosen by the state.

If your son or daughter is abusing drugs and alcohol, then it really doesn’t matter what age they are.

And, if it just so happens to be while their brain is still developing, setting themselves up for long-term cognitive problems, then you are clearly unfit to be a parent.

This isn’t a problem for taxpayers.

If the goal is a well-regulated cannabis regime that keeps the product out of the hands of minors and helps those with abuse problems, then a free-and-fair market is preferable.

Governments cannot calculate like a business. Misallocations of resources occur because the information revealed through voluntary patronage and profit and loss is lost when money is forced from the populace.

The government could take the advice of healthcare providers and nationalize the industry, forbid marketing and sponsorships, roll-out massive propaganda campaigns and further restrict civil liberties on roads and highways in the name of fighting impaired driving.

But is that what Canadians really want?

Without the ability to withdraw payment, without setting the terms of a contract you’ve signed consensually, there is simply no objective “best practice” governments can follow.

Cannabis is not a toxin like alcohol, but a medicine.

But we’d be better off to treat it like neither, since both alcohol and medicine are over-regulated and subject to the whims of bureaucracy and corporate conglomerates.