Of course, there are more than three things that stink about Justin’s legalization. But these three will do for now.
1. Cannabis Pardons?
The organization formerly known as Pardon Services Canada has a report for the federal Liberals and it’s a doozy: “free” pardons for Canada’s non-violent cannabis offenders.
Of course, it’s not free since everything has a cost. But surely, the cost of speeding up the government’s Record Suspension process is offset by the justice served to Canada’s cannabis “criminals.”
But what are the costs to taxpayers of updating data and separating out cannabis charges on (in 2016 alone) 17,733 criminal records?
Maybe too much to bear. After all, individual Canadians can always pay a fee after five years to get these pesky things removed from their file.
Very few things in life are free, especially government related stuff.
“There ain’t no such thing as a free lunch” is a universal principle.
Also, “The ten most dangerous words in the English language are “Hi, I’m from the government, and I’m here to help.””
Pardons or not, the drug war isn’t over. Legislating what we can put in our own bodies is part of the great democratic experiment.
If voting manifests our mutually desired goals, without diminishing our liberty, without undermining markets, without creating unintended consequences – then all the more reason to use wealth redistribution as a means to an end.
The progression toward all-around statism grows unabated when we presume that only our great democratic institutions can solve the problems we collectively face.
Which leads me to:
2. Legalization is Costing Taxpayers’ Money
Prohibition was such a massive failure that it’s now costing taxpayers’ money to fix it. I’ve written about this before.
Legalization doesn’t have to task the public sector with additional responsibilities. But the Liberal Party is in charge, and as one criminal justice expert puts it, “The government of Canada is not making marijuana use legal, what it’s doing is decriminalizing some aspects of marijuana use.”
Evident before the 2015 election but now irreversible, the government is decriminalizing what many Canadians do or have done: purchase cannabis, grow a few plants for themselves, smoke, eat, vape, and dab cannabis, all while minding their own business.
What the government is not doing is legalizing existing cannabis markets. They are not normalizing the plant. The commercial industry is a continuation of Harper’s medical regulatory scheme.
Legalization is an excuse to spend money, enrich investors, and win the next election.
The promised “craft industry” is a joke.
3. The Fake Federal “Craft” Industry
Promises of a “craft industry” mean squat when Justin still can’t distinguish between violent organized crime and the semantic “organized crime” of peaceful cannabis farmers, vendors, extractors, and other third-parties.
A little positive media coverage here and there doesn’t excuse the legitimacy endowed to Ottawa’s licensed producers.
When the CBC runs a headline saying cannabis legalization “could be a life for B.C. towns hit by industry losses,” they don’t mean the underground market colloquially known as BC Bud.
The article references Harvest One Cannabis Inc., an LP located on land owned by the Cowichan Tribes, near Duncan, BC.
The chief operating officer, Graham Whitmarsh, is also the former deputy minister in BC’s previous Liberal government. Harvest One is, to quote Whitmarsh, “an entirely new business.”
If all new infrastructure and capital inputs, including a $9-million expansion, are signs of a “craft” industry, one that promises First Nations economic opportunity, then what will become of other BC towns?
You know, the ones already cultivating cannabis? The ones without specific permission from Ottawa?
These peaceful networks of “organized crime” don’t quite have the same clout as former Liberal ministers.
BC Bud will have to make choices next year: whether to register with the federal government (if given the option), whether to keep pushing for provincial growing rights, whether to keep practicing civil disobedience and open defiance.
Canadians will have to ask themselves if going through the proper channels for home-growing essentially means having the police know that you grow.
Perhaps it’s better to continue in the laissez-faire fashion we’ve adopted? The Liberals really don’t need to legislate anything further. In fact, all they need to do is repeal existing legislation permitting prohibition.
For everything else, there’s “the rule of law.”