The Hazards of Pot Decriminalization


Canada is stumbling toward some sort of official pot decriminalization. But that won't necessarily be a good thing for Canuck heads, as this column in Canada's National Post argues.

It is possible the authors are being tongue-in-cheek when they write:
"Legalization will destroy commercial freedom—especially that of small growers and dealers—and transform the marijuana industry into another sad Canadian example of overtaxation, overregulation and oligopoly. The regulatory process will be debauched, soon serving mainly to crush competition.

Grow your own? Forget it. The Cannabis Marketing Board, a Crown agency stuffed with Liberal appointees and accountable to no one, will regulate every facet of cultivation, production, processing and marketing. Large producers using factory farms and wage-earning employees will lobby first for subsidies, then to eliminate small growers. Weirdos who defy the system will be busted, clapped in irons, and have their property confiscated. The mainstream news media will portray them as rednecks, extremists and—worse—as selfish men who refuse to accept the benefits of a socialized industry."

Alas, tongue-in-cheek or no, they are also probably right. Decriminalization or medicalization of drugs does not mean drug freedom.

NEXT: Mo' Joe

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  1. nothing tongue-and-cheek about it. This what alberta farmers deal with today. Hard to believe it is 2003 (almost) and not 1917.

  2. Not so tongue-and-cheek. We have a government that’s already talking about random Energy-Audits to enforce the good citizen’s duty to conserve.
    Interest groups are already demanding the government supply pot for free, through our health care system. (they’ll probably have to wait 18 months to get it, though)

  3. Some good points. The example of tobacco gives us reason to believe that pot would be heavily taxed, and there would probably be a black market in unstamped product much like with cigarettes today.

    But it’s hard to believe that even with the tax rate of tobacco, a lid of weed would still cost a weeks pay for a burger flipper as it does now.

    And I think the prospect of cartelization would be unlikely. One of the reasons the state capitalists support marijuana prohibition is that it won’t be under patent. And once the major hurdle of legalization is cleared, the political obstacles involved in criminalizing home-growing will be huge. Imagine the PR nightmare of hauling in a guy with MS for growing a perfectly legal product in his backyard, just because it undercuts the profits of Cargill and ADM.

  4. Indeed if the goverment continues to regulate it and does not allow personal cultivation, is it REALLY decriminalized?

  5. You guys have a major case of “glass half-empty”-itis. Abstract and idealistic considerations of “freedom” aside, I tend to think Canadian citizens who no longer have to worry about being forcibly incarcerated for their recreational consumer choices will feel that their degree of freedom has increased considerably.

  6. Are you allowed to make yer own beer in Canada without the Man coming down on you? Seems analogous. Maybe not though.

  7. Brian,
    Thanks for catching this. I too, wish that NP’s prediction is pure farce. I promise you, though, it is serious. Regulation is fast becoming Canada’s national religion, displacing hockey. One can’t even sell a bushel of wheat on the open market.

    Dornan, above, misses the point: Canadians today are not free to grow their own stone, and they may never be. Today, as tomorrow, someone else will dictate who grows and who sells and at what price. Today’s blind eye towards minor possession becomes tomorrows policy, but will this truly be freedom? Canadians should therefor be eternally grateful?

    It’s not “glass-half-empty” down here, it’s “freedom-half-fast” up there.

  8. Canada should join the US.

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