Pubdate: Wed, 13 Sep 2017
Source: Calgary Sun, The (CN AB)
Copyright: 2017 The Calgary Sun
Author: Lorne Gunter
Page: 15


When I was in university, two of the dumbest guys I knew had a
thriving pot business.

They grew their plants behind a pair of bushes under their rez room
window and conducted sales from a corner at the pizza place down the

Selling weed is neither complicated nor particularly difficult. But
just watch how cumbersome and bureaucratic it becomes after
governments try to take over "bud" retailing next July.

When Health Canada tried to grow medical marijuana in an abandoned
hard-rock mine near Flin Flon, Manitoba, it made a hash of it, before
finally bringing in a private hydroculture company to grow the plants
for them.

Any high school dropout with a basement and a bank of grow lights can
do it. Marijuana is a weed, after all.

So why is the rollout of Ottawa's legalization taking so long and
seeming so complex?

There are a lot of factors at play, most of which have nothing to do
with legalization.

There's a potential political backlash. Politicians are worried about
angering the minority in Canada who remain opposed to

The recent public-health campaign that insists pot is too harmful for
brains under 25 has the soccer-mom lobby panicked about their precious
babies becoming druggies from a pre-grad puff. (Never mind that
legalized alcohol probably carries similar risks to developing brains.)

The federal government, therefore, has found itself walking a
tightrope between its desire to appear hip, cool and laidback by
legalizing weed, while remaining concerned about our young people.

So the Trudeau Liberals did what all cowardly federal governments do:
It passed off the really difficult decisions to the provinces.

Ottawa said pot had to be legal by midway through 2018. But the
Trudeau government left the really tough parts to the provinces.

The legal age at which Canadians can buy bud and how the stuff will be
distributed, those are provincial decisions. In other words, the
decisions that will stir up political hornets' nests - who gets to buy
and how easily - falls on the provinces.

Ontario has proposed to guard the sale of marijuana so closely that
there is almost no chance its plan will work: Sell it in only 150
government-owned stores, run by public-sector unionists, with no
branding, no pot cafes, no private sales of any kind.

Really!? Pot is currently available at thousands of bars, street
corners and public parks across Ontario at any time of the day or
night. In other words, it is available where and when customers want

There is no possible way customers will now settle for the
inconvenience of seeking out an LCBO store that is a half-hour drive
or more away and only open during bureaucratic hours, merely so they
can buy legally.

The Ontario Liberal plan maybe satisfies the desire to raise tax
revenue and make its voting base among public sector unionists happy,
but it does nothing to make pot-smokers happy.

Alberta's private liquor store lobby has a better plan. Let the
province's 1,400 private liquor stores sell weed, too. Their staff
already have training at keeping controlled substances out of the
hands of minors and their retail network is already spread out in
every community.

They go one step too far. The liquor store owners offer to set up
separate-entranced marijuana outlets so weed isn't sold next to liquor.

I fail to see the need to keep the two vices separate - as though that
would somehow cut down on the abuse of one or the other.

But the Alberta proposal at least meets the customer halfway along the
spectrum of legality versus convenience, so has some chance of beating
two dumb guys with a plant.
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MAP posted-by: Matt