Its 2017 and marijuana legalization is on the table but if you live in Vancouver or Toronto, you may think that we’re already there with the number of marijuana dispensaries popping up all over the place.
However outside of Vancouver, many of these dispensaries are still facing raids by police, and just a few weeks ago Justin Trudeau urged police to enforce the current law on marijuana in our country.
Those comments didn’t sit well with many young people, marijuana activists, and those who supported Trudeau in the last election during which he struck a significantly different tone about marijuana.
While we won't be hearing much more about marijuana from the federal government until April, many feel that Trudeau and the Liberals are going to screw up legalization, bigly. Legalization differs greatly from decriminalization and both have their advantages and drawbacks.
As a conservative and someone who holds a libertarian position on marijuana use, I want to ensure that the business, entrepreneurship, and investment opportunities from a burgeoning new industry like recreational marijuana, is beneficial.
What I fear is a very controlled, regulated, and top down approach from Health Canada that forces people to buy their marijuana from government liquor stores or select big corporate interests.
To add another element, consider that of the Conservative leadership candidates, only Maxime Bernier has supported legalization or decriminalization in principle though he wants to see more from the Liberal plan before commenting further and that position alone was enough to gain Bernier the endorsement from notable Marijuana activist, Marc Emery.
Watch as I discuss the issue with Marc’s wife and marijuana activist, Jodie Emery.
I still think there are legitimate questions to be asked and answers needed on who is supplying the current dispensaries in our cities and what is being done with that money. Is it supporting further drug trade, or are these just well connected entrepreneurs who know people who can grow the product?
Right now, under the psuedo-regulated system Gregor Robertson has set up in Vancouver, we don’t get to find that out, but the city is charging a $30,000 fee for each of these shops.
So is Mayor Gregor’s system profiting from the avails of organized crime or simply endorsing retail marijuana entrepreneurship?
And will Justin Trudeau’s heavily regulated system of legalization with a heavily taxed product force recreational users back to their dealers on the streets if they don’t like the quality and cost of the product?
If that's the case then we just end up back at square one.