Article by William Watson, Financial Post
I hadn’t been planning to start smoking pot even though it’s now legal, but the reality of legalization is hurting my brain so much I may have to reconsider.
The situation in Ontario is particularly mind-bending. For several years now, dozens of dispensaries have been operating quite openly. (They call themselves dispensaries to further the narrative that, like your grandmother’s rye, marijuana is for medicinal purposes.) Only now, with pot use becoming legal, are these dispensaries being shut down — although Toronto’s chief of police says not right away, as he doesn’t have to person power to do it all at once.
If they don’t shut down, they may forfeit their chance at a licence to sell pot legally once licensed retail operations do finally start in the province on (when else?) April 1st of next year — 166 days after legalization. Why would they not be granted a licence? Not because they trafficked in marijuana when its use was strictly illegal, if seldom prosecuted. But because they continued to traffic in marijuana after it became legal but before the government gave them a licence, an offence that will be prosecuted slowly, if at all.
Silly me. I thought marijuana legalization would simply say that after a certain date the police wouldn’t arrest you for having such-and-such an amount of marijuana in your possession. End of story.
Yes, we do live in a society that is health-and-safety paranoid, so I suppose it was inevitable we’d also get regulations about the strength and toxicity of what could be sold legally. But that kind of regulation requires only that sellers demonstrate they’re complying with the rules. No other test is necessary. If you meet the health and safety standards, come on down and jump into the market with everyone else who wants to see if they can make a go of it. Some will succeed, many will not, but there’s no reason for you to stop doing what you’ve been doing until April 1st, even if you’ve been doing it for years to the satisfaction of legions of customers.