Nov 2017 14

Into my second week of little-to-no advertising work duties. And I find my interests are shifting back to politics and geeky things like that. Here’s my meandering stream-of-consciousness piece on what I learned today about the upcoming proposed legalization of marijuana in 2018.

I am now against legalization of cannabis in Canada.

Yes, me. The guy who 15 years ago would happily disappear into my apartment on a Friday evening with a new Playstation game and a ziplock bag, and then emerge Monday morning wondering “Where the heck did the weekend go? Why don’t I have any friends anymore? And how do I get past that damn 36th level?” Ah, my careless misspent adult years.

Look, I was going to get addicted to video games with or without dope. Fucking ‘Galaga’ ensured that. But anyhow, I have been what I would call a ‘casual user’ of cannabis products since my late teens – with a peak in my late 20s. I don’t consider it a ‘drug’. It’s a plant. And my experience has been that it’s far less destructive in people’s lives than alcohol. Again, a longer conversation.

What I am against is not the use of marijuana and cannabis products, but rather the current proposed taxation and infrastructure systems being cooked up by the Government of Canada that will go into effect in July, 2018. If the Senate doesn’t block it, but that’s a whole other story.

One billion dollars per year. That’s the current estimated amount the government of Canada will raise with their proposed $1 per gram tax on cannabis products when legalized/controlled sales begin on July 1st, 2018.

Where that $1 billion of money is going to go is yet to be determined…

This feels like a tax-grab. If it isn’t, then why is the Government also going to tax medical marijuana?

I listened to a segment of CBC’s Metro Morning where host Matt Galloway interviewed Liberal MP Bill Blair, who has been given the responsibility of heading up the structure around legalization. He is also the former Toronto Chief of Police.

Among his comments…

“Revenue generated from this should be reinvested in research, in prevention, in public education, in treatment and rehabilitation. Those are the appropriate investments for this…”

“We are trying to bring in a system that will do a better job of protecting our kids. We are trying to bring in a system that is competitive with organized crime so that we might displace them from the market…”

Bill Blair says his primary responsibility, and why he took on this role, is to keep the children safe.

I need to do some more research on what the government is proposing. Certainly my experiences with buying marijuana are not everyone’s. But I’ve never had any experiences with dope dealers that felt like I was dealing with ‘organized crime’, or that I was ever in danger being in their presence. And if protecting kids is so important, why is the legal age minimum for purchase going to be 18?

When Bill Blair was asked if he would be a user as of July, 2018, he was quite firm that he would “absolutely not”. He has never had an illicit substance and continually called it a ‘drug’.

I don’t even have a video game system in the house anymore, and dope just makes me a bit (more) paranoid now, so I’ve pretty much quit – but I’m a big CBD user and proponent.

I’m all for moving forward on public marijuana use and recognizing it’s not ‘illegal’ to do so. But this approach, right now anyhow, smells duplicitous. And it’s interesting to see who is lining up to fill their pockets with the new system coming into place (I will be reading more on what Julian Fantino is up to). Seems like the best people to learn from would be those people who built the ‘system’ the Government says they are trying to replace. But those people are just being jailed and ostracized.

Drop the tax on medical prescription marijuana. It’s the first step to showing this isn’t what it seems to be – a tax grab.

Updates as they happen.

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