Medical and recreational pot will be legalized in Canada whether you agree or not. That being the case, it behooves the various provinces and cities to work out rules governing, among other aspects, where it can be sold. This legalization can be treated as a problem or as an opportunity. I prefer to look closely at the inevitable roll out of legalized pot and find the opportunities, and in doing so, I will focus on Victoria B.C., although my suggestions are certainly viable for any city in any province. Accordingly, this blog posting will be about preparing to efficiently manage the retail and wholesale chain of medical and recreational marijuana in Canada, when they become legal.
In order to find those opportunities, you must first understand the current state of medical and recreational pot distribution and its deep criminal roots, as well as distinguish between the ideal medical marijuana distribution chain and the ideal recreational marijuana distribution chain
The current state of the medical and recreational pot shop distribution system is a nightmare as it has been created in Victoria
- Despite the fact that medical marijuana is distinctly different than recreational marijuana, there is no “real” distinction between those shops that sell medical marijuana and those that sell recreational marijuana, with most shops selling both, and where chaos rules, and where there are large profits to be made, you will always find gangs and other criminals.
- It is true that legitimate, federally licensed medicinal pot growers like Tilray do exist, but despite their size, the criminal organizations dominate the market. These criminal organizations use the money generated from their pot sales to fund other criminal activities.
- To date, whether “supposedly” medical pot or not, most pot is controlled by motorcycle gangs and other criminal organizations with the odd “loners” capturing a very small percentage of the illegal market.
- The City of Victoria, under the tenure of Mayor Lisa Helps, has already allowed approximately twenty-five illegal pot shops to open and VicPD says more are scheduled to open. It seems as though the mayor is only looking at tax revenues and ignoring the considerable costs of policing and of regulating these stores.
- These shops have already brought a significant amount of violent crime to Victoria in the form of armed home invasions and armed robberies.
- Nanaimo RCMP has issued “Cease and Desist” orders to ten shops and already closed three of them. Allegedly these shops were selling to minors.
- The criminals who own and/or run those shops that were closed have already re-opened in defiance of the courts and continue to run what I term as a “medical marijuana prescription scam“.
- The lines between what is medical marijuana and what is recreational marijuana are blurred to the point that most medical doctors do not even understand the qualities that define the differences between the two products. My friend Vagn’s doctor was one to whom the differences between CBD and THC [THC being the cannabinoid that gets one high,and CBD the cannabinoid responsible for the favorable medical effect] had to be explained before he would allow Vagn marijuana.
- The plethora of pot stores in Victoria, brought to you courtesy of a mayor who understands how to manipulate the media and the political system, threaten our thriving tourist industry as nobody with younger children will want to wander the streets to shop and have their children exposed to drugs, and because the many pot shops will attract tourists looking for drugs, instead of tourists wanting to see Victoria’s many attractions and spend their money at its restaurants.
Criminals must be removed from the marijuana distribution chain before criminality is removed from distributing marijuana
You must clean out the old medical and recreational pot distribution system before you bring in a new one
Standing in the way of a manageable marijuana distribution system are the current illegal pot shops that are springing up in anticipation of Canada’s federal government legalizing pot, giving entry to the criminal motorcycle gangs which seek to get their feet in the door early and monopolize the coming legal pot distribution chain, just as they dominate the existing illegal market, through lawlessness, intimidation and violence.
Furthermore, despite what they would like you to believe, the people who run/own these pot stores are currently doing so in violation of existing marijuana laws
That being the case, all pot shops in Victoria are owned and operated by criminals. While I have some sympathy for the few pot shops, if there are actually any, which dispense only medical marijuana, and then only to those who possess a valid medical marijuana card, they are still in violation of the Criminal Code of Canada, and they are still committing criminal acts, which makes them criminals.
For their criminality alone they should be closed down; additionally though, as you will come to understand, storefronts specializing in pot have no place in a secure distribution system
Furthermore, since these shops mostly obtain their weed from criminal gangs, they are part of the problem and not part of the solution, as their money funds the criminality at its source.
The facts are, with the exception of licensed growers, that the entire pot distribution chain is corrupt with criminality from the point of the actual growing of marijuana to the point of its ultimate sale to a consumer. YOU CANNOT CREATE AN HONEST DISTRIBUTION NETWORK BY STAFFING IT WITH CRIMINALS. Ergo, the current pot shop owners need to be forced to close.
DO NOT feel sorry for these pot shop owners/operators. They took a gamble, breaking the law in the process, made a profit along the way, and now, if there is such a thing as justice, they should not be permitted to continue to reap rewards for their criminal behavior
Therefore, if these medical and recreational pot shops refuse to go by request or by police action (as some are doing in Nanaimo), then the government needs to bring civil forfeiture actions against their landlords. I assure you that no landlord wants to spend tens of thousands of dollars trying to protect his/her property from seizure by the government. [Civil forfeiture is a lawsuit brought by the government that allows it to seize property under certain criminal circumstances, and these pot stores fall well within the scope of that law]
With the closure of the pot shops, and only with the closure of the pot shops, a two tiered marijuana distribution chain that separates medical marijuana from recreational marijuana utilizing the existing infrastructure of liquor stores [liquor stores have already strongly expressed an interest] and pharmacies can be implemented. This will accomplish the following:
- Tap into two already existing, secure, and well established distribution networks, networks with proven effective rules and distribution systems that fit almost seamlessly into any sensible framework which would be required to govern the distribution of marijuana
- Virtually lock the motorcycle gangs out of the distribution chain because criminal organizations will have a very difficult time infiltrating or penetrating the purchasing operations of these companies
- Draw an absolute distinction between medical and recreational pot that the medical profession can easily understand because the two products will have a clear-cut distinction from one another within the distribution chain, thus benefiting the medical user as pot becomes more accepted by more doctors
- Remove the blight of pot shops from the streets where our kids and our tourists now see them daily
- Greatly reduce, if not completely remove, any realistic risk of further armed robberies of these shops because copious amounts of marijuana will no longer be amassed at a central retail location, thereby lifting a burden from the police, as well as an expense from the police, city governments and provincial governments while making citizens safer than they currently are
By consulting with the RCMP and the Victoria Police, the respective warehouses that supply the pharmacies and the liquor stores can establish a viable list of suppliers to those warehouses from which the pharmacies and the liquor stores will purchase medical and recreational pot
Of course, there will be some refinements needed within the liquor store and pharmaceutical distribution systems, but they will be just that, REFINEMENTS. Using those existing systems, there will be no need to re-invent the wheel.
- Pharmacies will be selling marijuana that has a pharmaceutical value and liquor stores will be selling marijuana that is an intoxicant
- Because of the number of pharmacies and liquor stores and the geographical spread thereof, availability to those with medical needs will increase, as will the availability for recreational users
- Marijuana will be out of sight much like cigarettes are, and there will be no need for the off-putting and garish storefront advertising that is currently seen
- Because liquor stores are already in an “age requirement” business and because pharmacies are already in a “you must identify yourself” business, it will be more difficult for minors to purchase marijuana of either nature
- Allowable levels of THC versus CBD can be set to determine whether the pot should be a liquor store product or a pharmacy product, with a minimum level of CBD required for it to be classified as “medical”.
My message to Lisa Helps
The legalization of both medical and recreational pot is coming, you just need to make a decision whether it will be controlled by criminals, as you currently encourage, or whether it will be controlled by legitimate business organizations which have already demonstrated respect for our laws
To my readers, this is an issue that has the potential to impact your life and the lives of your children, from a crime standpoint, from a “use” standpoint and from a health standpoint. If the government wants to legalize marijuana, it needs to protect our families while doing so
You may post your comments below