What’s Wrong with an Unregulated Market?

First things first, there is no such thing as an unregulated market.

Entrepreneurs restrict each other through competition, and consumers restrict entrepreneurs by patronizing competitors.

And restriction of human activity is all that regulation means.

If valued and demanded, third-party arbitration services, also in competition with one another, will serve other regulatory needs.

Therefore, Toronto mayor John Tory’s fears about an unregulated cannabis market are completely unfounded. The problem is overregulation of other businesses.

The City of Toronto has no “responsibility to ensure this emerging industry” (or any industry for that matter) operates without conforming to laws that are already on the books: criminal law, property law, contract law, commercial law, and the law of tort.

Normally, cannabis would fall under criminal law. But nobody believes that anymore, so all the federal government needs to do is remove it from the criminal code.

But, instead, the federal Liberals drag their feet while John Tory talks about municipal regulations, not only failing to learn from Vancouver and Victoria’s mistakes but exalting these failures as virtues.

That’s all John Tory means when he writes that his government will address the “negative impact on the health and safety of our residents and neighbourhoods.”

That he will address the “Licensing and Standards Committee” to recommend, “regulatory mechanisms” and “licensing fees.”

This is not the Soviet Union. We are not, traditionally, a society that relies on politicians attempting to solve any and every perceived or real conflict that arises.

We are not, traditionally, a society that requires entrepreneurs to register with the government for a business license.

If people are living in cities, where they are surrounded by strangers all the time, then they’ve already demonstrated that peace is a prerequisite.

There are commercial means of regulating human activity, and they don’t involve siccing police forces on otherwise innocent people.

If state force maintained order, increased regulation (and not just for cannabis people, but for everyone) coupled with a larger police presence would turn slums, ghettos and city jungles into prosperous metropolises.

But that’s not how freedom and prosperity works.

Creating more laws and expanding bureaucracy stifles the taxpayer, hinders the entrepreneur and does little-to-nothing to actually address the root of the problem.

Toronto, “the centre of the universe” can perhaps lead with an actual solution: allowing private neighbourhood associations to regulate commerce within their borders, instead of delegating that power to guys like John Tory.

Unable to calculate rationally, these 19th-century municipal fiefdoms fail at virtually everything they put their mind to.

Therefore, the people who live in these neighbourhoods and cities don’t see a reflection of their values with the so-called public services they depend on.

There is no “unregulated” proliferation of dispensaries, only an unfettered growth of government bureaucracy.

Cannabis dispensaries are a reminder that buyers and sellers can get along without state interference. That the sky won’t fall if career bureaucrats cease to interfere with human action.