Pot capital of Canada, my ass.

The mayor of Smiths Falls, Ontario thinks the town is “recognized as the pot capital of Canada,” and that, “the local economy is certainly far better today than it was before Tweed came to town.”

And since LP weed is the government’s go-to for supply, CEO Bruce Linton believes he can open a retail chain, a sort of on-site delivery for Tweed cannabis, outside the retail monopoly of Ontario’s soon-to-be CCBO.

Of course, a market valuation of over $3 billion US is a little illusionary in a situation like this. Who’s to say they’re creating any value at all?

A better question is why did Hershey pull out? The facility occupied by Tweed was once a chocolate factory. I remember visiting it on a school field trip.

The problem is similar to what other manufacturers face: cheaper labour overseas, artificial restraints on the domestic economy and trade, resulting in higher costs all-around, too much union interventionism, and, of course, never-ending currency inflation justified by the “deflation” boogeyman.

But we are all capitalists.

Canadian towns like Smiths Falls have always relied on “staple” resources to establish themselves. The Mayor praises the economic boom. Linton hopes for more hotels. Of course, the town is welcoming to the 350 employees in the market.

But Smiths Falls has seen many businesses come and go, as Bloomberg’s article details.

Where will Tweed fall in the history books?

Much depends on how popular their cannabis is vis-à-vis the competition in British Columbia, the true pot capital of Canada.

If the Tweed brand survives by producing offshore Mexican cannabis cheaper and a higher quality than Ontario street schwag, and BC is either prevented or unwanted in the Ontario market, then Smiths Falls may transform into an R&D facility for discovering new plant genetics and strains.

But if Smiths Falls becomes the pot capital of Canada, without the full legal participation of the BC Bud industry in a free and fair market, where past cannabis convictions prevent people from entering the legal market, then the town will have illegitimately usurped BC’s place.

It will have thrived in an environment of crony-capitalism, stood by silently while an aggressive police force of bicamerally-minded agents followed orders of a police chief manifesting a grudge.

Where is the rule of law in the criminal status of cannabis? In monopolistic police forces? In political lobbying? Punitive restrictions? Corporate pot producers profiting at the expense of craft growers?

Where is the rule of law in continual raids and prosecution for nothing more than what the LPs legally do? For what everyone will soon be able to do?

If John Horgan and his cohorts mess up BC’s response to federal legalization, Smiths Falls will be the next pot capital of Canada, and the provincial government will have done to BC Bud and its positive externalities what Hershey did to Smiths Falls — but on a scale of hundreds of thousands of jobs.