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. 

 

References:

      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.

Comments

Interesting arguments on the role of the government on this issue. However, I would like you to think of the benefits marijuana's legalization as well: a step towards a truly free society and more budget to spend for our country's wellness. The government's decision to opt for a closed market is not irrational; as for alcohol, it does not want to encourage the omnipresence of weed all over the streets. I believe the new system is a good step from the messy prohibition we got into place. Indeed, it would be a too big step to go from prohibition to a free open market. Is marijuana really worse than alcohol? Or are we only misled by the taboos surrounding it, as it was the case with alcohol during its prohibition a century ago?

I'm having trouble understanding what your main idea(s) are. What about the benefits? I clearly mentioned what they were (wealth), but showed that other values (integrity etc.) were more important....

P.S. Taboos surrounding alcohol? When has alcohol ever been taboo?

Recently, most of Canadians are talking about this issue. Justin Trudeau has said that he wants to legalize Marijuana. In your article, I looked up to find some arguments in favor of its legalisation, but I could find any. Still, it was a good text, and I appreciated reading it. I already have my own point of view about it. I agree with all the things you explained, but I think that legalization of marijuana would be a good thing. I know that many teenagers tried it at least once, and I think that it is not a bad thing for health if you do not take some often. Also, it says that the one they consume is not really good, and contains some chemical ingredients that could be bad for the health of them. When alcohol was not even legalized, people were saying that it was bad for health, which is not, until you abused of it. It is the same thing for marijuana. If the government sells it, it will be secure and 100% real marijuana, so there won't be any risk. But once you legalise a drug, is there any limits to what can be legalized?

My original post wasn't about the legalization of marijuana at all. It clearly says "in a post-legalization Canada", meaning that, in the context of the the post, marijuana IS legal. What I'm writing about is what the government should do once Cannabis is legal; allow for the sale of Cannabis on an open or a closed market. An open market would mean that anyone can buy, sell, or produce Cannabis, whereas a closed market would mean that only a select few pre-approved corporations would be licensed to do so.

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