Article by Liz Braun, Toronto Sun
Here’s everything you wanted to know about a free market approach to pot but were afraid to ask — thanks to cannabis rights activist Jodie Emery.
Emery and her husband, Marc Emery, are pioneers in the field, having run pot dispensaries, published Cannabis Culture Magazine and generally helped drag Canada kicking and screaming into a 21st century relationship with marijuana.
The legalization of marijuana is something Jodie and Marc Emery have worked toward for most of their adult lives.
Ms. Emery spoke to us on the phone about just what Doug Ford’s free market approach could mean to people in Ontario. Once pot is legal, each province oversees distribution and sale. Some provinces will allow both private and public sales. In Ontario, the Liberals intend to control all sales, opening 150 stores run by the LCBO.
Can we start with a quick summary of legalization?
“Legalization was supposed to do three things: Stop criminalizing Canadians for using and providing cannabis, legalize the existing industry and stop wasteful law enforcement spending. But we’re not seeing any of that with the Ontario Government Cannabis Act: Bill 174. That model continues to criminalize the existing industry. It allows only the government to be providers, and they now have new laws to go after their own competition — the existing industry, the dispensaries and the providers. When Doug Ford says he supports private, independent retail, that falls in line with the concept of the federal task force, which said the dispensaries should be allowed, and it acknowledges that in Ontario and in Toronto especially, there’s already a massive marijuana industry — and market and branding and products and consumers and business owners — that exists. That’s what’s supposed to be legal and regulated, not criminalized and prohibited.”