The British Columbia Government, instead of taking a leadership role with cannabis legalization, has decided to cop-out, take the safe route, and appoint the BC Liquor Distribution Branch as the wholesale supplier, albeit with a private-retail sector (but no word yet on the current dispensaries).
Despite the assurance from liquor lobbyists that anything other than the alcohol regime controlling cannabis is “reinventing the wheel,” the truth is cannabis is nothing like booze.
Nevertheless, the real questions surrounding BC’s legalization announcement go unanswered.
BC’s Solicitor General Mike Farnworth repeated the same mantra we hear out of Ottawa. Roads, children, public health and safety, and eradicating “the criminal element.”
As if there is no peaceful make-up of British Columbian cannabis producers and vendors.
Never mind those entire BC communities centred around the craft cannabis trade.
The only “criminals” involved are the ones the government defines by their asinine prohibition laws.
Hence, legalization is supposed to stop treating these people like criminals and allow them to be part a tax-paying, regulated marketplace.
But what do we get instead? A crony-capitalist system established by the Harper government and then adopted by Trudeau’s Liberals. A system where one must invest at least $1 million into a greenhouse facility surrounded by a security complex greater than Alcatraz.
The government then says there’s no excuse for breaking the law since there’s a clear, regulated pathway to becoming a licensed cannabis producer and vendor.
But even these licensed producers complain about the ineptness of Health Canada’s regulatory regime. Many of the smaller LPs have sunk their fortunes into what is essentially a game of stock-market roulette. I don’t see the market crash turning out well for them.
As for the others, the larger, more well-connected LPs, they’ve been pestering the BC Bud community for brand trademarks and plant genetics.
They see the writing on the wall. If the BC government is going to neglect the underground market, if these small-time growers can’t afford to become LPs, then what better opportunity to buy them out?
Unless, of course, Trudeau’s craft LP scheme isn’t as daunting and convoluted as Harper’s corporate LP scheme was.
Yet, something tells me the craft LP rules will be so strict and unnecessarily nuanced that it will incentive growers to either a) team up with the already established LPs or b) continue to break the law, which means harsher criminal sentences.
But what kind of dedicated grower sells their brand and genetics to the big LPs?
They will instead painfully and reluctantly sign up for Trudeau’s Craft LP scheme.
And they will raise hell doing it. BC’s cannabis community won’t accept absurd conditions and rules, nor will they back down from their passion and livelihood.
They will not let craft cannabis become part of another corporate conglomerate on this barren landscape of crony-capitalism.