Pubdate: Fri, 17 Nov 2017
Source: Edmonton Sun (CN AB)
Copyright: 2017 Canoe Limited Partnership.
Author: Lorne Gunter
Page: 7


Pot rules largely workable but ban on weed sales at liquor stores
makes no sense

The Alberta government's proposed rules for selling legal marijuana
are a bit fuddy-duddy.

For the most part, they're pretty good. Private retailers will handle
in-person sales; unionized government workers will be in charge of
online purchases. (Please allow 6 to 8 weeks for delivery).

What the Notley government is proposing is very likely a workable

It will not eliminate illegal weed sales entirely. But it will make
buying bud convenient enough that most people will be persuaded to go
the law-abiding-citizen route.

There's too much money in black market dope sales for the illegal
trade to go away entirely. And there will still be a market for the
untaxed product, the way there still is for bootleg booze and cigarettes.

And if you are at a bar late at night, and you're already a little too
buzzed to drive to the nearest pot store, but you've run out of your
own herbals, then you'll probably still turn to the dealer you've
always relied on - providing he's still in business.

Still, over time, the rules the Alberta government firmed up on
Thursday should eliminate the bulk of illegal marijuana sales. Tokers
won't have to inconvenience themselves too much to keep within the
law, nor pay too much of a premium for the legal stuff.

In economists' terms, the "transaction costs" of staying legal will be
low enough that most users will be encouraged to use marijuana legally.

And at the end of the day, that makes what the New Democrats are
proposing a good solution.

Still, just like the federal legislation taking marijuana out of the
Criminal Code, the provincial rules contain a nod or two to the overly
anxious soccer moms who worry (unnecessarily) that legal marijuana
might suck her babies into a life of stronger and more addictive drugs.

(Get over it. Even while it's still illegal about 40 per cent of them
have tried it by the time the get out of university, college or even
high school.)

Around a third of adult Albertans claim to have tried it. (I never
have. But I have no objection to anyone who wants to.)

I find the tinge of hysteria in Thursday's regulations a bit

First, pot may not be sold legally in stores that also sell liquor.
Why not?

Alberta has over 1,400 liquor stores already in place - even in
communities of under 500 people. Those stores are a ready-made network
for legal pot sales. And their staffs already know how to sell
controlled substances (like booze) responsibly.

Indeed, when marijuana sales go legit next year, weed retailers will
be prohibited from selling anything else - including bags of chips.

Given the way chips go with marijuana, this is like forbidding liquor
stores from selling pop to use as mix. Makes no sense.

The attitude has a bit of suburban uptightness in it.

What is anyone worried about? That Dorito sales will lead to greater
weed use?

The only legitimate concern that should lead to prohibitions and
sanctions like the no-chips rule should be research-backed concerns
that the sale of nacho-flavoured corn snacks in the same locations as
marijuana would lead to irresponsible pot use.

If that connection cannot be established, then the ban on sales of
other products at weed stores makes no sense. It's just a regulation
born of unfounded biases and irrational fears.

The same applies to the ban on liquor stores selling

Indeed, if the government makes it too inconvenient to pick up
marijuana AND a six-pack AND some munchy snacks, it will just
encourage that which it set out to curtail - illegal sales.

Still, the NDP'S framework is the best among the provinces so far.
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