Is Corporate Cannabis a Bad Idea?
by MarcHaensel on September 12, 2016 - 1:43pm
In Alan Young's article “The goal of legalized cannabis shouldn’t be corporate gold”, published in The Globe and Mail, July 15th 2016, we are offered an insightful perspective on the longstanding question of Cannabis legalization, or rather, how would be best to treat marijuana in a post-legalization Canada. The author begins the article by writing about his own personal experience in the quest to legalize cannabis. “Untold monetary treasures to be reaped upon legalization” is cited as a one of the main reasons for the government's pushing for legal, taxable weed. He then clarifies that this fine, but that the importance of the government's valuing of wealth can be easily overridden by the higher morality of an open market where anyone can buy, sell or produce cannabis, not just large corporations.
Mr. Young's main argument is a clear puts the value integrity higher than that of wealth; the author argues that “once a government gives the legal seal of approval to an activity, it loses the moral right to condemn and criminalize the renegades operating without a license.” Furthermore, “[i]f a basic premise of legalization is that the activity is not sufficiently harmful to warrant jail and a criminal record, it cannot be converted back into criminal conduct simply because it is being done without proper licensing.” Such an actions would show little integrity on the part of the government, integrity being more important than wealth. It would clearly be hypocritical for the government to, on the one hand, assert that marijuana is benign and thus not sufficiently dangerous to merit criminalization, and on the other hand criminalize the substance for no reason other than to force users into buying the taxable product of their large corporations. Open markets are a more moral choice.
The author concludes with a call for rationality, pointing out that, by demonizing marijuana and continuing to treat it's users as criminals, nothing has been changed or achieved. “If the government maintains the taboo on self-production and local dispensaries, there will remain hundreds of thousands of cannabis users and producers who will refuse to go to the liquor or drug store to purchase cannabis. If excluded from the new market, the underground will continue to flourish.” The underground market, where marijuana is often laced with increasingly dangerous substances such as fentanyl, needs to be better controlled. This control will certainly not be attained by continuing to maintain the current taboos, thus making a more rational choice to opt for open markets.
My own opinion on this question is squarely on the side of Mr. Young. I don't believe there's any justification for a closed Marijuana market, aside for more money to be made by way of taxes. Thus, it seems to me highly unjust to make criminals out of those who choose to avoid the system, simply because they don't pay these taxes. Personally, the value I attribute to justice overrides that of wealth. I also believe the author to be entirely right in his assertion that the underground market will continue to flourish if the government institutes a closed market system. It therefore seems illogical to take a course of action that causes the same problems were right now plagued by, namely a dangerous underground market, to persist. Here, I value a rational choice over the irrational choice.
Young, Alan. "The Goal of Legalized Cannabis Shouldn't Be Corporate Gold." The Globe and Mail. N.p., 15 July 2016. Web. 12 Sept. 2016.