Since the Ontario government ran a survey on the topic of cannabis legalization, it’s assumed the Ontario Liberals are acting in the best interests of the public, instead of in the best interests of those who lobbied them.
The public will believe something along the lines of “The LCBO generated $1.9 billion to the Ontario government last year. That money was spent on social housing, upkeep of roads and bridges, schools and hospitals. I’d rather the people of Ontario receive the sales revenue from cannabis instead of a lucky few capitalists who will likely spend their profits on cars and mansions. A CCBO is in the public’s best interest.”
But this thinking is mistaken. It focuses on one group in the short-run instead of all groups in the long-run.
Take the claim that Ontario residents won’t see the revenue if cannabis remains under private ownership.
It’s as if those who profit from creating and selling cannabis goods and services don’t purchase other things in the economy. Y’know, non-cannabis goods and services that, when bought, contribute to the well-being of the sellers and their families.
We all benefit from allowing individuals to buy and sell with each other. Every attempt to undermine this peaceful process of mutual exchange has failed.
And since dispensaries pay taxes, the government has nothing to fear from relinquishing control. In fact, it’s more worthwhile for the government to allow a private regime where innovation can occur that adds to the variety and depth of cannabis goods and services.
A free market ultimately generates more tax revenue than a monopolized industry owned and operated by the government.
The government cites a static fund called “cannabis revenue.” These are the “seen” benefits of, say, $1 billion a year in cannabis sales going right back into government services, or rather, botched hydro deals and lucrative pensions for unworthy work.
But there are “unseen” losses from failing to allow private individuals to create a robust, free market industry.
If one-size-fits-all government revenue generating is superior, then why not appropriate all industries and all goods and services? Why stop at cannabis?
Is it because we can afford to bypass the diversity of wealth that comes from cannabis, but not other goods and services? By whose metric? Who gets to decide that? The Ontario people through their representatives at the legislature?
Something is very wrong with the system when public labour union lobbyists have more influence than the individual voter. So much for acting in the public interest.
Insomuch that parliamentary democracy is the best form of government we have, even though it may be full of errors and tendencies for corruption, perhaps it’s best we err on the side of caution and permit government intervention only when everything else has failed.
Clearly, private cannabis sales haven’t failed anybody. In fact, it is the Ontario government’s pretense of knowledge that will fail cannabis consumers should they be deprived of private enterprise.