I told you pot legalization wasn’t wise

This is not a column about having been right, or smarter, or better than anyone else.

Rather, this is a reinforcement about the importance of heeding the signs that we are presented with each and every day.

Not a week goes by where the issue of cannabis and related products is not being touted. The whole subject has seemingly been important enough to dedicate constant precious airtime and print space to its impact on Canada.

Recently, the headline was that pot retailers are losing customers to the black market. Well, duh?

The sunny prediction that legalizing pot would close the black market has backfired with an enormous thud.

That prediction was made by leaders that I believe know very little about the capitalistic system, and just how it operates, in that a company that desires to sell a product for $10 should always be aware of competition that can quite readily sell the same product for $8. Even a Grade 10 dropout can figure that one out.

Was there any single reason that drove Canada and Canadians recklessly to legalization? In my mind’s eye, I see a cartoon character with large elongated eyes that employ dollar signs rather than pupils.

A big hula-balloo was made about “doing it right,” while at the same time, totally ignoring the advice of a couple of U.S. states that have gone through it. What is surprising is how rapidly the problems arose.

The municipalities that made the preparations required, in order to allow retail sales, were in the right to expect to be compensated for the costs incurred.

As a matter of fact, they were promised it. Problem is, the feds take 25 per cent off the top, up to $100 million (who knows what for), with the rest going to the provinces, which would theoretically share with the municipalities, which in turn, would be left to deal with the issues related to the control and policing.

From what I understand, the trickle-down system seems to have problems, in that there does not seem to be enough to pass along.

Problem No. 1: With so many levels of governments wanting a piece of the pie, the price they have to set for marijuana is about 20 per cent or more than what the black market will provide it for.

Problem No. 2: Shutting down the black market will soon consume the majority of the profits, but to little avail. This will prove to be an exercise in futility.

Don’t agree? How well did they do before legalization? I still read reports that emphasize that all black markets will be shut down. Whatever you do, don’t hold your breath.

Problem No. 3: Will the problems we face with pot stop this country from legalizing all street drugs? I doubt it.

All the difficulties we are facing just with this “soft” drug should be more than a warning sign for what would come if we proceed with the legalization of all “dirty” drugs.

The micro-management system in Ottawa seems to have come up short. In a country as diverse and complex as Canada, more decision-making should be left to provinces and the municipalities, which can work in harmony with the financial and social characteristics that are unique to their districts.

Mind you, if that were the case, I believe there would be many areas that would stop pot retail sales in their region.

From the little I have learned about drugs of any kind, prescription or street, there really is little benefit to them. At least the majority of prescription drugs properly prescribed have a useful purpose.

Several years before legalization started, we should have learned enough about drugs to fight any type of acceptance, which today leads me to say, “I told you so.”

Chris Salomons is a retired Red Deer resident with a concern for the downtrodden.

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