Trying to find any good that can come from a monopolized and government controlled marijuana market is like trying to get high off lint. It just doesn’t work. Kathleen has managed to do it once again, she has seriously harmed the province of Ontario for personal gain.
The new plan creates a system in the same vein as the LCBO except far more strict. It creates roughly 60 new storefronts to replace the current 140 in Ontario(which are operating in legal gray zones) and restricts the use of edibles and other methods of consumption.
The plan may at first look responsible, restricting the access to the drug by both lowering the total number of stores and by further more limiting consumption to the home, but in reality, this set an extremely dangerous climate for drug misuse and the black market to continue thriving. While perhaps even worse, harming our country while cementing Liberal electoral success through more Union support.
Before moving further I’d like to make one simple argument, that as marijuana is legalized more Canadians will choose to partake in the drug. Regardless of political beliefs that is simply the truth. A legalized system should therefore not aim to restrict access to adults, but rather create a culture in which it is deemed wrong to purchase marijuana for children while maintaining a price point which makes it not-profitable for black market vendors to meet that demand.
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By restricting supply by lowering the total number of a storefront at the same time that the drug becomes legalized the government will inflate the price of the drug massively. As they lack the capacity to meet the marijuana needs of Canadians through legal growers we will face a shortage and in turn, will see the price rise even higher.
This massively inflated price will make it profitable for black market vendors and producers who already maintain extremely large operations to remain within the system and continue selling to minors and those who find the price of the government monopoly too high.
In a Toronto Sun article The owner of Hotbox Café in Kensington Market commented on the decision to cut supply so harshly:
“The decision to shut down weed dispensaries and vape lounges and force people to only smoke cannabis at home will only drive business underground.
“They’re not listening to the industry, they’re not listening to the federal government — which recommended lounges and consumption spaces — they’re listening to what they want to hear,” she said.
“And this is the problem with the Ontario Liberals. They want to do as they please,” Roach said. “I think it’s based on them thinking, ‘How can we pad the pockets for us and not for everyone else?’”
The most telling reasoning to as why the Premier has picked this bizarre role comes from the unionization aspect of the bill. By following a LCBO model the province is also agreeing to unionize thousands of new workers as the program ages and new stores open past the currently planned 60. This new unionized industry would then likely support a Liberal government, returning large amounts of profits back into the Liberal party.
Kathleen’s plan more than anything feels like a cop out. It shows real signs that they fear a legalization could go poorly and are aiming to limit potential political blowback. This problem should not be blamed on Kathleen alone, as over 99 individuals, groups have already voiced concerns, support, and suggestions in regards to the legalization plan. In a CBC article MP Don Davies, a New Democrat from B.C. and a vice-chair of the health committee, accused the Liberals of rushing the hearings process, to dilute parliamentary and public engagement and debate around flawed legislation.
“I’m concerned they’re trying to rip the bandage off and move to the next stage without getting really varied and diverse input from Canadians,” he said.
Given the legalization efforts of so many other nations and states, you would assume Ontario would have chosen a better path to legalization. Sadly the Liberal government chose political gain over efficient governance, dropping the ball yet another time.
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