Wild west of weed

The Southern Gazette - - Editorial -

If any­one be­lieves there isn’t a healthy dose of un­seemly cash-grab in the provincial gov­ern­ment’s new cannabis leg­is­la­tion, then they haven’t read the pro­posed law. More specif­i­cally, they haven’t read sec­tions 72 and 69 (7) of An Act Re­spect­ing the Con­trol and Sale of Cannabis.

That’s the sec­tion that deals with the on­line sale of cannabis.

In it, the prov­ince at­tempts to leg­is­late the

NLC (“the cor­po­ra­tion” in the leg­is­la­tion) a global in­ter­net mo­nop­oly on cannabis sales. Here are those sec­tions.

“72. (1) A per­son other than the cor­po­ra­tion shall not sell or oth­er­wise sup­ply cannabis on­line or through a web­site.

“(2) A per­son in the prov­ince shall not pur­chase, at­tempt to pur­chase, ob­tain or at­tempt to ob­tain cannabis on­line or through a web­site.

“(3) Not­with­stand­ing sub­sec­tion (2), a per­son may pur­chase or ob­tain cannabis on­line or through a web­site from the cor­po­ra­tion.”

And, “69. (7) A sale of cannabis by a re­tailer, in­clud­ing the ex­change of money, value or other con­sid­er­a­tion and the de­liv­ery of cannabis to the per­son pur­chas­ing the cannabis, shall take place in or at the cannabis store or cannabis re­tail lo­ca­tion of the re­tailer sell­ing the cannabis.”

Sounds for­mal, right?

But for a lit­tle back­ground, it’s worth re­mem­ber­ing the prov­ince’s pa­thetic at­tempt in 2013 to trap and charge FedEx with bring­ing a wine ship­ment into the prov­ince - some­thing else that’s against “the cor­po­ra­tion’s” reg­u­la­tions.

An NLC em­ployee used their spouse’s name to or­der Bri­tish Columbia wine and the NLC had the de­liv­ery com­pany charged. At the time, then­fi­nance min­is­ter Ralph Wise­man said liquor sales were an im­por­tant source of rev­enue.

Two years later, provincial pros­e­cu­tors were forced to ad­mit that they had no case what­so­ever, and with­drew the charges. FedEx tried, and failed, to re­cover the $150,000 it had spent in legal costs; there haven’t been any re­ports of NLC “sting” at­tempts since then.

Right now, it’s against the Crim­i­nal Code to sell mar­i­juana in Canada.

Yet in­ter­net sales are boom­ing, and if the prov­ince ex­pects to some­how be able to stop that by mere reg­u­la­tion once mar­i­juana use and pos­ses­sion is ac­tu­ally legal, they’re dream­ing in Tech­ni­color.

You need look no fur­ther than in­ter­net gam­bling sites to re­al­ize that the prov­ince has few tools - and lit­er­ally no reg­u­la­tory force - to be able to back up the leg­is­la­tion. The prov­ince has passed leg­is­la­tion leav­ing a mo­nop­oly on gam­bling in the hands of the At­lantic Lot­tery Cor­po­ra­tion. But go on­line, and see if any­one comes af­ter for play­ing poker for cash on any num­ber of web­sites.

That horse is well out of the barn, down the road and has been graz­ing on other peo­ple’s hay for years.

A few lines of leg­is­la­tion in a provincial bill are hardly go­ing to stuff that pony back in the shed. It won’t do it for on­line cannabis sales ei­ther.

That horse is well out of the barn, down the road and has been graz­ing on other peo­ple’s hay for years.

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