In the U.S., cannabis is still officially classified as a Schedule 1 narcotic. It is equated with genuine “hard drugs” (dangerous narcotics) like heroin and LSD.
In Canada, cannabis is now officially legal at the national level, for both medicinal and recreational use. However, the Canadian government continues to pretend that it is in the process of commercializing a dangerous drug – little different from heroin or LSD.
This becomes abundantly apparent when viewing the final government regulations on Phase 2 of cannabis legalization in Canada along with the ridiculous government rhetoric that came with it. This comes from Bill Blair, Canada’s Minister of Border Security and Organized Crime Reduction, via an interview with BNN Bloomberg.
Blair has been made responsible for enacting the Canadian government’s cannabis policy. That’s problem #1.
“Border security”? Canada is regulating cannabis commerce – not the shipments of plutonium.
“Organized crime reduction”? The only reason why organized crime has any connection to the cannabis industry is because by mistakenly criminalizing the cannabis industry for 100 years, our governments handed this industry to organize crime.
The way to extricate organized crime from the cannabis industry is simple. Create efficient, cost-effective regulations for the cannabis industry that provide an economic incentive for cannabis consumers to move away from black market/gray market suppliers of cannabis to legal, regulated and inspected cannabis.
Instead, the Canadian government is making the legal cannabis industry as inefficient as possible.
Ridiculously onerous restrictions are being imposed that will dramatically raise the costs of bringing “next generation” cannabis products to market.
(CBD-infused beverages for sale in a Los Angeles grocery store)
Compounding this regulatory idiocy is the accompanying regulations from most provinces that establish the provincial framework for cannabis commerce. More over-regulation. Excessive taxation.
TSI has already been reporting on this regulatory failure. Cannabis was legalized in Canada for recreational use in October 2018. Yet in 2019, 72% of recreational cannabis sales are expected to come from the black market. Failure.
Contrast this with the rhetoric from Blair, perched high atop his ivory tower.
Blair dismissed [industry] complaints, stating that the government’s first priority when legalizing cannabis was to ensure the health and safety of Canadians remained paramount, as well as protecting youth and displacing the illicit market. [emphasis mine]
Really? How does over-regulating cannabis help in “displacing the illicit market”? It doesn’t. It does the opposite.
Blair reveals his real intentions elsewhere in the BNN Bloomberg article.
“It's not the government's intention to promote the use of this drug but rather to make it legally available in a well-regulated manner to reduce the social and health harms often associated with cannabis use.” [emphasis mine]
We now see that these new regulations have nothing to do with eliminating the black market for cannabis. These regulations are aimed only at deviously framing cannabis as a dangerous drug – and undermining (not facilitating) the transition to legal cannabis.
“Reduce the social and health harms often associated with cannabis use”?
What social harms? What health harms?
Cannabis is medicine used to alleviate health harms. It is completely safe.
The active ingredients in the cannabis plant are known as cannabinoids. The human body naturally produces its own cannabinoids (“endocannabinoids”) because they are essential to human health.
Mother’s milk naturally contains cannabinoids. They are passed to infants in breast milk to promote infant health.
If it were not for these cannabinoids in breast milk, newborn children would not know how to eat, nor would they necessarily have the desire to eat, which could result in severe malnourishment and even death. Newborn children who are breastfed naturally receive doses of cannabinoids that trigger hunger and promote growth and development. [emphasis mine]
But what about mothers who actually used cannabis during their pregnancy?
Dr. Melanie Dreher studied women using cannabis during their entire pregnancy and then studied the babies one year after birth. She found that babies of the women who had smoked cannabis daily during their pregnancy socialised more quickly, made eye contact more quickly and were easier to engage. [emphasis mine]
Where is the “health harm”? Where is the “social harm”? Only in the minds of anti-cannabis bigots like Bill Blair. Because of Blair’s blinding prejudice towards cannabis, he says “it’s not the government’s intention to promote the use of this drug”.
Promoting cannabis use as an alternative to the consumption of dangerous drugs like alcohol and nicotine should be an important public policy objective.
Alcohol is toxic and addictive. Nicotine is even more toxic and even more addictive. Cannabis is neither.
Alcohol and tobacco use create enormous health problems (and enormous health costs). Cannabis reduces health problems. Promoting cannabis use ahead of alcohol/tobacco would reduce the horrendous medical bills that all of us pay to treat alcohol- and tobacco-related health problems.
Here Canadian cannabis consumers are already light-years ahead of ignorant buffoons like Blair. In a TSI Exclusive, we reported on numbers from a May 20, 2019 report from Cowen Equity Research:
- 70% of Canadian consumers who consume both alcohol and cannabis report reducing their alcohol consumption
- In giving their “reasons for consuming cannabis”, 41% of Canadians specifically cited cannabis as “an alternative to alcohol”
Clearly the Canadian government (and the mainstream media) need a lot more education here – to catch up to the Canadian people. Globally, alcohol sales have already flattened, for health reasons.
Alcohol, by itself, has always been a killer. It kills directly with diseases such as liver cirrhosis. It “is a necessary underlying cause for more than 30 conditions and a contributing factor to many more.”
In recent years, however, this dangerous drug has been killing many more people – in combination with other drugs. Alcohol is “contra-indicated” (i.e. dangerous) in conjunction with numerous other pharmaceuticals. It is especially deadly in conjunction with opioid use.
Cannabis is not contra-indicated with respect to any other drugs. This is why cannabis is seen as such a great hope in alleviating the Opioid Crisis. As pain relief, it is a substitute for opiates. And it’s safe for opioid abusers to use while they are attempting to wean themselves off of opiates.
Then we have Bill Blair. Blair doesn’t want to “promote” cannabis. He would rather see Canadians continue killing themselves in excessive numbers with alcohol or tobacco (or opiates). It’s fortunate that the Liberal government didn’t give Blair any direct role in Canada’s healthcare system.
But Blair had still more ignorance to pass along to BNN Bloomberg in attempting to justify the ridiculous rules for which he is primarily responsible.
“I think there are legitimate concerns about how do we protect Canadians from cross-contamination.”
Infants consuming cannabis in their mother’s milk are not being “contaminated” by cannabis. This is just another of Blair’s anti-cannabis fairy tales.
There is zero justification in forcing the cannabis industry to construct and dedicate entirely separate facilities for the production of cannabis products – of any kind. This needlessly piles on enormous, unnecessary costs on the legal cannabis industry, further rewarding the cannabis black market that Blair claims he wants to eliminate.
Canadians deserve better. The Canadian cannabis industry deserves better. Cannabis investors deserve better.
1) Education. In the nearly 20 years since Canadian courts forced Canada’s government to start to provide access to “medical marijuana”, the Canadian government has learned nothing. Legislating from a position of utter ignorance literally exemplifies the Dark Ages.
2) Remove Bill Blair from any involvement with the cannabis industry. Not only does Blair’s Ministry have no constructive role (at all) to play in the cannabis legalization process, Blair has now demonstrated utter incompetence in this role.
3) Place jurisdiction for the cannabis industry under the rational jurisdiction of a Ministry that is appropriate for regulating this safe and extremely useful commercial crop (and industry).
4) Eliminate regulatory and bureaucratic inefficiencies in the cannabis industry. Contrary to Bill Blair’s position of ignorance, promoting the increased use of cannabis (as an alternative to alcohol/tobacco) is in everyone’s best interests – except for alcohol and tobacco corporations.
5) Encourage provincial and territorial governments to minimize taxation of cannabis. This will facilitate both the transition away from the black market and price cannabis at a level that will encourage alcohol/tobacco consumers to migrate to cannabis usage. As things stand today, there are only three “winners” in the new cannabis regulations announced by the Canadian government.
The alcohol industry.
The tobacco industry.