That the left-leaning NDP in Alberta is more to the right than the supposed “centre” Ontario Liberals sure says something, doesn’t it?
I mean, the Alberta NDP crafted a cannabis distribution framework that leaves the door open for private enterprise. I wish I could say the same thing about Ontario.
But what about British Columbia? The jury is still out, but here are seven reasons why the BC NDP should follow something more akin to Alberta’s example than Ontario’s:
1. Private enterprise benefits BC’s craft growers. Under a government model, it’s easier for LPs to lobby for exclusive distribution. With many different private dispensaries and retail shops, lobbying becomes harder if not impossible.
2. Tourism. Simply, a seed-to-farm-to-retail tour, just like wine, where tourists actually pay you to trim! Imagine that. Alongside a 4/20 friendly bed and breakfast, the potential tax-revenue should have Horgan drooling from the mouth.
3. Safety issues are not a concern. The idea that only liquor stores can ID people appropriately is nonsense. So is the propaganda that anything other than liquor-store monopolies is, essentially, trying to “reinvent the wheel.” This is an agricultural plant that requires cannabis-specific humidors and refrigerators. It couldn’t be more unlike alcohol.
4. Since a central control board is almost impossible to get away from, may I suggest Alberta (and hopefully BC) take the sensible route? The paper put forward by the Ontario Chamber of Commerce (and ignored by the Wynne government) recommending auctioning off access points was the most free market one could expect in socialist Canada. BC’s Gaming and Liquor Commission may serve as a good bureaucracy to grandfather in the existing trade associations and auction off access points to interested buyers. Then, the government could leave them alone and insist Canada’s rule of law will do the rest of the work. When problems arise, resolutions will be found. Such is life. Nothing remains the same.
5. Ignore what the Alberta NDP are saying about the trade-off between public safety and private expediency since it’s pure nonsense. Perhaps now I should speak to Green Party leader Andrew Weaver personally. I ask that everyone stop reading and continue to the next point…. Weaver, what the hell dude? Why don’t you hold some powerful position in Horgan’s government? Minister of Uber & Cannabis would have been a great choice. Cannabis is popular with the kids and adults alike, it’s sustainable as industrial hemp, and a made-in-BC economic boom for farmers across the country would have made you incredibly popular. You want more seats, don’t you? Or are you just waiting to qualify for a pension? Probably the latter, I suppose.
6. Ignore the belief that the government could have better control over the black market in a government retail-system versus a private retail system. This is categorically false, no bureau can handle the complexity of human choice like many private actors working in concert. And obviously, given the successes of the market vis-a-vis the parasitical entity known as the state, the market wins hands down on social cooperation. This should be lesson number one when crafting provincial regulations.
7. No growing outside? Obviously, if smell is an issue, neighbours will find ways to work this out. Besides, what about smoking on private residences? Smell is certainly going to be an issue in the first few months. I suspect it will simmer down as authorities enforce no-smoking bylaws better with weed than they do with tobacco. But nevertheless, let people grow wherever they want on their own property.
Basically: Don’t follow Ontario.
Alberta, be careful how you go about this. Think, “what would Peter Lougheed do?”
Ottawa — look at hemp again and see if there’s some local job creation the government can take credit for. Let the people grow and trade and buy and sell, e.g., a free and fair farmers’ market.
And BC: The liquor store union is right, they should sell it. But only if the market is open and free for everyone else as well. Otherwise, they’re calling for an exclusive cartel. What’s “progressive” about that? Then again, you have no problem keeping the taxi cartel intact.
But BC isn’t known for its taxi cab industry.