The city councillors of Nelson, British Columbia recently decided to prohibit any cannabis operations.
Of course, cannabis is in the criminal code, so the illegality of cannabis dispensaries is obvious. Council didn’t need to waste everyone’s time voting on it.
But they felt obligated since seven dispensaries are operating in the small city of 10,230 residents.
The motion read: “Despite the fact that several of these storefront operations have opened in recent months, they are operating contrary to criminal law – they are illegal.”
Yet, despite being illegal, seven dispensaries demonstrate that people prefer buying their cannabis in stores and not on the street.
It’s not as if closing down dispensaries is going to eradicate Nelson’s cannabis supply, or force consumers into liquor stores and patients into pharmacies.
People have demonstrated their preference for cannabis and there’s nothing politicians, especially municipal politicians (essentially, glorified custodians) can do about it.
All Nelson City Council has done is help destroy the city’s local economy.
British Columbia has a vibrant cannabis industry. Some estimates put it at $5 billion a year, with a labour force of over 25,000 people.
A lot of BC communities are sustained by cannabis.
Nelson is one of these places. The lumber industry is long-since dead and in its place is a thriving arts and recreational sports community.
But artwork and mountain biking don’t feed mouths. The bulk of wealth generated in Nelson is from cannabis farmers.
British Columbia’s economy was once a resource-based economy. Cannabis cultivation has filled that vacuum left by these former industries.
Cannabis storefronts are the latest push toward a free and fair market in cannabis.
The fact that cannabis is “illegal” should be of no concern. It was once the law to round up Japanese and stick them into concentration camps. It was once the law to round up aboriginal children and force them into residential schools. Until recently, it was illegal to be gay.
Cannabis production, distribution, and consumption are victimless crimes, and therefore, no crimes at all.
And with a federal government vowing to legalize (albeit, that’s a whole other issue), what exactly is Nelson’s city council smoking?
Not cannabis, because that’s illegal.
While they enact bylaws to prohibit any business “cultivating, growing, producing, packaging, storing, distributing, dispensing, advertising, trading or selling of cannabis (Marijuana) or its derivatives” the fact is their paycheques are derived from taxpayers.
And, contrary to what many think, cannabis entrepreneurs do pay taxes.
Nelson’s city councillors are shooting themselves in the foot. Do they not realize that their entire community is sustained by cannabis?
That the community holds no social taboo surrounding the plant?
This is the equivalent of Fort McMurray prohibiting oil-sands production, or Atlantic communities banning fishing.
Why is Nelson’s City council adamant about destroying their own local economy?