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Mike Hosking: Canada's example shows the dangers of legalising cannabis

Mike Hosking,
Publish Date
Thu, 28 Nov 2019, 3:47PM
Canada is having issues after legalising cannabis, writes Mike Hosking. (Photo / File)

Mike Hosking: Canada's example shows the dangers of legalising cannabis

Mike Hosking,
Publish Date
Thu, 28 Nov 2019, 3:47PM

I think we can be somewhat grateful to Canada for legalising cannabis a good year or so ahead of us. They’re making a complete hash - no pun intended - of it.

This week’s news is the massive over supply: the market went nuts, grew it like there was no tomorrow, so now they have warehouses full of it. And you know what happens to the price when the supply side is out of kilter – yes, it crashes.

That’s the trouble when it comes to drugs. Cheap drugs then lead to greater uptake, which is fine if its fruit and veggies but not if it’s the sort of product that leads to dependence and psychosis.

The legalisation in Canada had the same sort of ideological bollocks wrapped around it as the pro dopers are pedalling here. It’s a health issue, we want to offer support, we want to control the market, we want the bad guys out of the business.

One year on none of it has happened. In fact, quite the opposite, the illegal side of the trade has flourished.

And here’s the simple truth about government vs private enterprise when it comes to business of which pedalling dope is: the private sector always wins. It wins on agility, creativity, flexibility and street smarts.

They’re not driven by policy, by politics, by agencies, by bureaucracy, they’re driven by a bottom line: you want it, they got it.

So not only do the Canadians have two and a half years’ worth of supply in warehouses. They also have the psychological things they didn’t think of.

There’s all the red tape around local councils and authorities, some of whom want nothing to do with the policy. The edibles business that never got off the ground that drives a good chunk of demand. The government’s inability to control the strength of the product - dope heads in Canada like it strong apparently. 

Not surprisingly, these are all issues filled quickly and efficiently by the black market.

And the over-arching fear that in this world of unsafe info and leaked detail, no one who deals in dope wants to be buying off a state agency for the simple and I suspect very real fear that they are going to be tracked and monitored.

Once again, an area that the black market was only too happy to swoop in and offer comfort on. Cash works nicely, strong as you want, as much as you want, no questions asked.

So, so far we have rung on Chloe Swarbrick’s advice, looked at Colorado, and talked to the law officials and medicos about it, and they’re pleading for us to not make the same mistake Canada did.

Now, thank you Canada, for what looks like the KiwiBuild of cannabis reform.


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