The inadequacy of the Responsible Marijuana Retail Alliance of BC

I can’t think of an organization more useless than the Responsible Marijuana Retail Alliance of BC.

First off, it’s called cannabis.

Second, since when did only public and private liquor stores become capable of checking identification?

The website of this group has a form you can fill out as to, “Tell the BC government and municipalities that retailing non-medical marijuana should be done in the most socially responsible way: through public and private liquor stores.”

There’s nothing socially responsible about selling cannabis alongside booze.

Now, in fairness, I have no problem with picking up a pre-roll while grabbing a bottle of wine or six-pack, but I’d also like to see those pre-rolls in convenience stores and gas stations.

As well, current and future dispensaries should be welcomed into the BC cannabis retail model.

But unfortunately, I don’t see that happening. As Andrew Klukas, president of the Western Convenience Stores Association told me, “there’s an established private liquor industry and they lobby against us.”

BC’s convenience stores are also interested in selling cannabis, but right now, thanks to public and private liquor store lobbyists, they can’t even sell wine or beer.

“It’s kind of unfortunate because that hurts business,” says Klukas, “Whenever we’re not allowed to sell legal products that local customers want to buy that makes it harder and harder for convenience stores to stay in business.”

But what about the Task Farce Report that recommended keeping cannabis out of liquor stores? Ontario’s solution is to create a whole new set of buildings under the guise of the provincial liquor monopoly.

What does the Responsible Marijuana Retail Alliance recommend?

“Signs,” says an editorial. 

Adding, “To date, there is no credible evidence that co-location leads to increased co-use. Gambling services have been available in B.C. bars, lounges and casino venues for years without complaint.”

Well, that’s not necessarily true. The late John Dunsworth (aka, Mr. Lahey from the Trailer Park Boys) campaigned against this dangerous combination. There’s even an episode of the show about what a money-grab these things are.

Nevertheless, the liquor store lobby believes that since they already operate “a secure network that already transports hundreds of millions of dollars in controlled substances every year,” they should get exclusive distribution rights.

Afterall, “Creating a parallel system would be unnecessarily costly and time-consuming.”

I agree.

Cannabis, unlike alcohol, is fresh produce. The shelf-life is different, and long-term storage means taking into account the environment where the cannabis is stored, namely, lighting and humidity concerns.

If anything, connoisseur cigar shops are better equipped to handle cannabis than liquor stores.

When was the last time you saw a large walk-in humidor at a BC liquor store?

The physical infrastructure of public and private liquor stores are wholly inadequate to accommodate cannabis.

Adding all new humidors and refrigerators would cost taxpayers.

As the Responsible Marijuana Retail Alliance of BC writes, “Funds would be diverted from important public services such as education and health care to duplicate the existing distribution network.”

Of course, they mean the opposite, since clearly, the existing distribution network is the dispensaries, not the liquor stores.

Besides, the public BC Liquor Store can’t even sell beer properly. I mean, who the hell sells beer at room temperature and then advertises a “cold zone” as if its some kind of damn luxury?

Imagine — pre-rolls where you roll the joint yourself. Uncured cannabis. Concentrates that haven’t been decarboxylated.

That’s all the Responsible Marijuana Retail Alliance of BC is promising. They are entirely unprepared to sell cannabis.