Ontario & New Brunswick Leading by Example

In Ontario and New Brunswick, the government is leading by example.

According to Ontario’s Attorney General, the peaceful albeit illegal dispensaries are “on notice.”

Never-mind that people currently supplying cannabis illegally are supposed to become legal under legalization, hence the term legalization.

Legal lies is more like it. And with the Ontario government planning to use its Liquor Control Board to centrally plan the monopoly industry, the supply will come from the licensed producers.

Is there any room for craft growers? That depends on the federal government.

Why are dispensaries “on notice”? What is violent or anti-social about their crime?

A spokesperson for the Ontario government wouldn’t speak to that, instead referring to the government’s “measured approach,” and that, “many aspects of the retail and distribution framework remain to be determined.”

But what’s “measured” about a Crown Corporation?

New Brunswick’s government also announced its own monopoly, but as a way of laying the groundwork “for the eventual retail model once final decisions around that have been made.” Implying that LPs may one day open private stores and sell directly to the public?

In the meantime, two licensed producers, Organigram and Canopy Growth Corp., are partnering with the New Brunswick government. With a legalization deadline by July 1, 2018, the only big business in cannabis is Canada’s licensed producers.

Unless, of course, you count provincial Crown Corporations.

But what about British Columbia? Home of craft cannabis colloquially known as “BC Bud?” Where the black market is grey and countless entrepreneurs are already active and even licensed by municipal authorities.

Where does the B.C. government stand on private enterprise in the cannabis industry?

“Nothing so far,” the Public Affairs Officer for the Solicitor General told me. I’ve asked numerous times and so far this is the only answer I get. I’m starting to suspect John Horgan’s NDP doesn’t know the first thing about cannabis in B.C.

It’s simple — ignore the wishes of the B.C. Government and Service Employees’ Union to monopolize, and put municipalities in charge of how to deal with distribution.

At least then we can get a handle on this in our respective communities. Or perhaps there’s strength in numbers. Lobby the provincial government like the labour unions and the LPs have.

Either way, there is little Horgan needs to do other than pencil cannabis into natural health product regulations.

After all, it’s only cannabis.

Drivers oversampling booze, cannabis, caffeine, or prescription pills indicate a deeper social problem that won’t be solved by increasing police powers, establishing road checkpoints, or by budgeting for high-tech breathalyzers and oral swabs.

And since “the children” aren’t the responsibility of the state, the only concern left is that of “black markets.”

Simply, there aren’t any. A legal cannabis industry would shift profits away from criminal gangs as indicated in every legal U.S. State, including California, who, like British Columbia, has had a medical program for decades.

This “free-for-all” community on the West Coast haven’t been pushing for legalization so crony-capitalists and opportunistic governments can step in and usurp it.

If anyone should be leading by example, it should be the B.C. Government. And they’d be foolish to follow Ontario and New Brunswick’s lead.