Pubdate: Thu, 13 Apr 2017
Source: Beacon Herald, The (CN ON)
Copyright: 2017 Osprey Media Group Inc.


If you're old enough, you may remember a time when buying alcohol in
Ontario involved walking into a bland, warehouse-like building,
filling out a slip of paper and handing it to a clerk who disappeared
behind locked doors to retrieve the booze you were looking for. No
flashy signs, no staff recommendations for libation of the month. No
critics' choice signs dotting the gleaming rows of bottles.

Depending on what's in federal legislation expected Thursday, initial
legal sales of marijuana may look something like those old days.

Or perhaps they'll look like the legal sale of cigarettes today: your
favourite brand hidden behind a store counter, proof of age required
for purchase. Maybe the cannabis item will be unlabelled, or carry a
graphic warning as with legal tobacco products.

And, obviously, there will be an age limit. News reports suggest the
minimum age for the legal purchase of marijuana will be set at 18,
with the provinces free to make it higher (pardon the pun), perhaps

If Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's government follows the
recommendations of its own task force, the legalization of marijuana
will proceed in halting, baby steps - to the dismay of many medical
cannabis manufacturers and shareholders now gearing up to market such
recreational delicacies as "Leafs by Snoop" or cannabis candies.

In the long run, there should be few restrictions on the legal sale of
cannabis products, beyond sensible age limits. Adults make decisions
about what to consume all the time - not always healthy or rational
choices, but in societies that respect individual rights, this is
their prerogative, not that of the state.

In such free societies, marketing and advertising of products are also
allowed as long as they are accurate, and government interference is
minimal. Walk into an LCBO nowadays and the boutique atmosphere is
inviting. All sorts of extra trinkets are available to consumers in
the Beer Store. And Ontario is slowly catching up to Quebec in
offering alcohol at grocery hubs.

Alcohol, it is easy to forget, is a potent drug. But for the most
part, Canadians have figured out how to buy and sell it without our
social fabric unravelling. We've figured out how to set prices so the
black market is minimal, and because of this, we know what we are
consuming: no mystery rogue substances spike our IPA or dry rose.

This is where cannabis regulation should ultimately be headed. Baby
steps for now, but ultimately, the freedom to decide if we want Snoop
Dogg's brand or some other.

- - Postmedia News
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