New Brunswick on How Not to Legalize

The New Brunswick government must really love spending money, and thanks to Canada’s equalization scheme, and debts left to future generations, local taxpayers never have to bear the true costs of their government’s boondoggles.

The provincial government recently established a working group to study cannabis legalization, citing issues such as “enforcement, regulation, taxation and distribution.”

Led by bureaucrats from the Department of Public Safety and NB Liquor, the group also includes the departments of Health, Social Development, Agriculture, Aquaculture and Fisheries, Finance, as well as the Office of the Chief Medical Officer of Health and Opportunities.

What a glorious future we’re building together, comrades!

Of course, there’s no input from any actual New Brunswick growers or the few dispensaries in the province. Instead, they’ve asked growers and retailers from Colorado for their input, which I guess is better than nothing.

But, Oregon’s executive director of the state liquor board is also being consulted, as well as the head of the RCMP’s “marijuana enforcement team.”

The executive director of the LP-dominated National Medical Marijuana Association (CNMMA), who is also a member of the parliamentary advisory committee chaired by Bill Blair, is also involved.

Obviously, New Brunswick’s initiative is just about the “economic and tax benefits” that will help cover the costs of state-run health care, education, social services and infrastructure.

But it gets worse (as if CNMMA’s close relationship with Bill Blair didn’t sound bad enough), the New Brunswick government is giving licensed producer OrganiGram up to $990,000.

Given through payroll rebates, the funding will be distributed over three years and is conditional based on the company doubling its workforce to 86 people.

CEO Denis Arsenault is adamant that the LP industry, “has the potential to be a once in a generation opportunity for growth and economic development as we move towards a recreational marketplace,” forgetting that he just took a $990,000 bailout.

The company also has secured $5 million in credit to “accelerate” its growth strategy.

Now, to be fair, this isn’t the only company New Brunswick is funding through its “Opportunities NB Inc.” scam, but it is the only licensed producer in Atlantic Canada.

If you can’t make money with a near monopoly on the east coast, I don’t think a government handout is going to help.

Besides, governments cannot invest. An entrepreneur reduces consumption and risks his or her saved funds for an investment in the anticipation of profit.

Government agents, on the other hand, merely tax and spend more than they otherwise would have, and on capital goods instead of consumption goods, and this is supposed to constitute an investment.

What is seen is OrganiGram’s $990,000 and the 89 jobs that will come out of that spending program.

What’s not seen is the wealth creation that would have happened if the government hadn’t been taxing and destroying opportunities for entrepreneurs who don’t need government handouts.

You can’t create wealth by taxing people and spending money on companies that can’t keep their head above water.

The only thing “Opportunities NB Inc.” does is disrupt the market, giving bureaucrats and businesses more influence over economic decisions than the buying power of the sovereign consumer.

Coupled with New Brunswick’s legalization working group, the province has set itself up as the poster child for how not to go about legalization.