Can you make it to Ottawa Feb. 24 for a discussion on how to legalize cannabis? No? Is that too short notice? Well that’s too bad, the event is now full anyway, but there’s always Twitter. Be sure to follow what a consultant, a policy bureaucrat, two “addiction experts” and two cops think about legalization.

Canada’s Liberal government has vowed to legalize cannabis and through the Senate’s “Open Caucus” initiative, a panel of so-called experts want to hear what you have to say.

How should cannabis be sold? What about the loss of revenue for cops? Are they going to have to solve real crimes with real victims? And won’t somebody please think of the children?

Cannabis legalization is too important to leave to a free-and-fair market and therefore we need this panel. Just like if the Senate put together a panel on climate change. We can’t give entrepreneurs the opportunity to find renewable energy sources in a free and fair market! We need a Senate panel consisting of experts from Shell, BP, ExxonMobil, and Chevron.

And in case you think I’m being unfair, let’s look at who these “experts and policy makers” are.

Two women from the Canadian Centre on Substance Abuse (CCSA), an organization with a legislative mandate to reduce the harms associated with alcohol and drug use.

Twenty-eight years later and alcohol still kills. Not to mention there is an epidemic of fentanyl that is the consequence of prohibition. If this organization was serious, they’d be calling for the legalization and regulation of all drugs, even heroin and cocaine.

Cannabis should be so far off their radar that the inclusion of these two policy advisors should have the CCSA scratching its collective head, asking themselves, “it’s only cannabis.”

The same can be said for Dr. Benedikt Fischer, of the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health. Between alcohol abuse and kids addicted to Ritalin and other pharmaceutical toxins, Fischer should be looking at cannabis and shrugging his shoulders. It doesn’t even compare to the crap out there that’s destroying minds and bodies.

Eugene Oscapella is president of Oscapella and Associates Consulting Ltd. He is a founding member of the Canadian Foundation for Drug Policy and once served as a counsel to the Commission of Inquiry Concerning Certain Activities of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police. His company works with governments to offer “policy and strategic advice on Canadian legislative and social policy issues.”

Where his loyalties lie isn’t as clear, but given the panel of experts so far, I’m sure he’ll be in favour of heavy regulation… for the children, of course.

Last but not least we have Bill Blair, now an MP and Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Justice (or as I like to call him: Canada’s first drug czar), and Clive Weighill, president of the Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police.

These men don’t need any introduction, nor any sustained rant about why their presence on this panel is laughable at best and dangerous at worst.

Of course, there are no actual cannabis users on the panel. Nobody that has been on the receiving end of a cannabis charge and conviction. And of course, the entire BC Bud community is neglected, as well as the patients and police officers who have been vocal about the failure of prohibition.

I’m just surprised there aren’t any LPs sitting on the panel, like Chuck Rifici, Kim Derry or Bruce Linton. I guess that’d be too obvious.

Nevertheless, legalization needs to be a deficient scheme that solves none of the problems with the drug war because governments love problems and they love war. Prohibition gives them an excuse to “solve” by creating even more problems.

And so we have cops and health bureaucrats determining how to “solve” the issues of cannabis legalization by ensuring that there will be future problems.

Legalization is going to empower the government because everything they do is to empower themselves. Power is dangerous. It attracts the worst and corrupts the best.