Since Vancouver’s regulated dispensaries aren’t supplying from Health Canada, City councillor Melissa De Genova believes the public’s health and safety is at risk. Therefore, a new motion requiring dispensaries to source their “supply from Licensed Producers regulated by Health Canada”

Full disclosure: her husband is a cop.

First, we can ignore any appeals to “public health and safety” since the public isn’t exposed to cannabis. These are private individuals going into private establishments of their own free will. They are welcome to browse, leave without buying, and patronize competitors.

They can even go to a taxpayer-funded clinic and complain of a “cannabis-use disorder” and receive treatment without footing the bill.

No, there is no risk to public health and safety. 

Second, there is nothing intrinsic about Health Canada that makes their regulated cannabis safer. 

Numerous LPs have had to recall their cannabis. Aurora and OrganiGram have used myclobutanil, a fungicide that produces hydrogen cyanide when burned. A pesticide not approved by Health Canada for cannabis production. The workers hid the chemicals in the ceiling tiles when Health Canada bureaucrats came for inspections.

Meanwhile, OrganiGram has secured a contract to supply government stores in PEI and New Brunswick.

You can’t assert that government regulation equals safety because you believe this proposition has not yet been proven false.

Because if recalls and pesticides don’t constitute proof, and in fact imply the opposite, that Health Canada regulators caught OrganiGram and therefore all is well (even after sending the tainted product to patients), then what does constitute proof?

For most Canadians, including Vancouver City councillor Melissa De Genova, one doesn’t need evidence. “Health Canada” and “government regulation” are mere appeals to authority. 

The motion reads: ”The majority, if not all, retail stores licensed by the City of Vancouver MMRU [Medical Marijuana Related Use], as well as those open without a license, do not obtain their supply from licensed producers regulated by Health Canada.”

Of course, De Genova’s reasoning is a bit flawed, like a certain drama teacher who now finds himself (people-self?) leading the nation.

“Allowing organized crime and/or gangs to participate in business in the City of Vancouver could put public safety at risk, and could put strain on police resources,” the motion reads.

Nevermind that a large majority of the cannabis industry in BC is nonviolent and unconnected to organized crime. 

We are criminal by semantics only.

Insomuch that there are inner-city gangs involved — that’s not a cannabis issue.

While it’s true they may be in the trade and even supplying a dispensary or two — it’s still not a cannabis issue solved by restricting business owners.

Gangs, after all, don’t follow the law. Changing it won’t matter.

The motion also calls for annual audits of all of Vancouver’s dispensaries, as well as for greater involvement between dispensary workers and the Vancouver Police Department.

It also mandates dispensary staff to “share any information on the correlation between marijuana growers and suppliers; and organized crime and gangs with senior levels of government, as they continue to prepare a legal framework for marijuana in Canada.”

Can’t say I’m surprised by any of this. The same cannabis activists that told us to vote for Justin’s Liberals told us that Vancouver’s city regulations were a step in the right direction.

Yet, when these regulations were first proposed, I had my doubts. I still do.