Vancouver Park Board vs. The 4/20 Farmers’ Market

The problem, as always, is socialism.

Since the Vancouver park board is not happy with the 4/20 Famers’ Market at Sunset Beach, there is conflict over who has the right to use the property.

On one hand, the event takes place on public property that many Vancouverites pay taxes for.

On the other hand, many cannabis enthusiasts are taxpayers.

The solution, as always, is a libertarian compromise.

Just as if someone were renting a convention centre, or a hotel room, the 4/20 organizers (or anyone, for that matter) could rent a beach from a private beach-rental company.

How would this be possible? By privatizing all municipal property, where beaches would be owned by entrepreneurs serving a demand for public access.

A beach-park company would have to earn money by providing fun and safe services first. The upkeep and maintenance would be in the hands of entrepreneurs who could lose their assets to superior competitors.

The current system of paying for beaches, parks and roads through taxes and then dealing with the unintended consequences later, is a broken system.

At some level the Park Board must know this as they said that “any legal liabilities as a result of any unfortunate accident, injury or death shall be the sole responsibility of the City of Vancouver.”

You mean us, the taxpayer? Or those yahoos who are elected, never bearing any financial responsibility for their boondoggles, deciding their own salary, and unilaterally deciding what you and I must pay?

If the 4/20 crowd occupied a private beach or park or road, then they’d be violating the rights of the private owner. If they coordinated a plan and raised funds for a convention centre or some other private meeting ground, then there would be no problem.

Because Vancouver’s beaches exist in the “commons,” where there is no private property, there is no legitimate owner of the land and thus conflict resolution is impossible. Since all private parties have equal standing under the legal system based on the rule of law, there is no way to solve the problem of public ownership.

Unless of course, one rejects the premise that only government bureaus can provide certain services and own certain tracts of land.

But what about smoking on the beach? Secondary smoke impacts other parties, but it is not comparable to blowing smoke in someone’s face or punching them on the nose.

Assault and battery are already illegal, it is only the busy-body “politically correct” that seek to make smoking taboo.

Regardless of the data between smoking and cancer (whether caused by tobacco or healed by cannabis), the argument falls flat because some people smoke all their lives and don’t get sick, while others succumb to disease despite leading non-smoking lives.

In contrast, going to the park and getting punched in the face is a universal example of physical harm.

But what if you’re sensitive to smoke? Fortunately, life does not stop and start at your convenience. Normal people have a right to engage in voluntary activities, once you’ve left your “safe space” it is at your own peril.

If beaches were private, smoking rules would depend on the decisions of the owner and competition from others. Smoking rules that satisfy customers would be the most profitable.

It may be in a private-beach company’s interest to have a weekly pot-smoking beach-party while remaining family friendly for the reminder of the week.

Free enterprise is highly flexible, conforming to the desires of virtually all customers. Government “all-or-one” policies are arbitrary and do nothing to resolve conflicts.