Article by Manisha Krishnan, Vice News
On the second day of my fellowship in Berlin this summer, I headed to Görlitzer Park, a notorious spot for desperate tourists looking to pick up weed. I was one of them.
I primarily consume cannabis as a sleep aid, and I didn’t think I’d be able to manage without it, considering the extreme jet lag brought on by a six-hour time difference. Being brand new to the city, I didn’t have a plug.
Of course, the first batch of weed I was offered looked awful—it was the colour of hay. I haggled for a bit and got an eighth of something passable for 35 euros ($51).
Someone in my situation who was dropped into (urban) Canada wouldn’t have that problem anymore. They would be able to go to a store and buy weed, without fear of arrest, because that’s normal now. And a year after legalization, that is worth feeling good about, even if this rollout has left much to be desired.
But a year is a good time to reflect on what’s working and what isn’t:
Ontario, B.C. and Quebec are losers
While Ontario, B.C., and Quebec have strong black markets for cannabis, all three provinces vastly underperformed in terms of setting up legal retail stores and making sales.
Ontario’s 25 brick-and-mortar shops didn’t start opening until April. B.C. only had one store on October 17, 2018 and now has 85 shops, but only 14 in Vancouver, once home to more than 100 black market dispensaries. Quebec has 22 stores. Comparatively, Alberta has 301 stores.