You read the headline correctly. The City of Victoria runs a criminal enterprise. It does so in the form of a Protection Racket for illegal pot shops. Is this what Mayor Helps meant when she wrote about not being stuck in the past? If licensing criminals is the future, then please…. I beg for the past.
Anyhow, I have news for Lisa Helps. Protection rackets are not new. They date back to the medieval times when farmers paid raiders not to destroy their crops. Over the centuries though, they have become more specialized and organized as population centres arose and grew.
There is much confusion around the laws regarding pot
Allow me to clear that up right now. The sale of pot for medical purposes is only allowed by some 37 federally licensed growers. The sale of recreational pot by anybody is illegal. It is that simple.
Thus, every pot shop in Victoria is currently forbidden to sell either recreational or medicinal pot. Additionally, no doctor can issue a prescription to anybody that gives that person the right to purchase pot, medicinal or not, from a pot store.
Definition of a Criminal Enterprise
An individual who exercises any degree of control over and earns income from an illegal business is a criminal. An organization that exercises any degree of control over and earns income from an illegal business is a criminal enterprise. The City of Victoria became a criminal enterprise the moment it accepted an application fee for a pot shop license.
Compare a criminal organization’s protection racket to Victoria’s criminal enterprise with pot shops
Criminal Org. – Protected Territory
You are given a protected territory. Therefore, nobody is allowed to compete with you within that territory. Moreover, if anybody attempts to compete in your territory the criminal enterprise will deal with them.
City of Victoria – Protected Territory
The city also gives you a protected territory. Nobody is allowed to compete within 200 metres of you. Moreover, if anybody attempts to compete in your territory the city will send the police.
Criminal Org. – Illegal Business
You are allowed to run an illegal business. Your protectors have a contact at city hall. This contact means that you will not be bothered by the authorities.
City of Victoria – Illegal Business
The city also allows you to run an illegal business. And this is despite the fact that you buy from biker gangs and other criminals. Instead of having somebody at city hall to protect you, your protector is city hall itself. You may mislead the public and sell recreational pot and/or medicinal pot and call it whatever you want. City hall’s protection means that you will not be bothered by local authorities.
Criminal Org. – Low Profile
You must keep a low profile. Too much exposure is bad for everyone. If you create too high of a profile, the crime boss will send somebody to deal with you.
City of Victoria – Low Profile
You must keep a low profile. Too much exposure is bad for everyone. Accordingly, you are only allowed minimum signage. Additionally, nobody is allowed to ingest pot within your shop. If you create too high of a profile, you will be ordered to cease and desist. If you continue the city will send the police to deal with you.
Criminal Org. – Protection Money
You must pay a fee, known as “protection money” for all this. If you don’t pay, the criminal enterprise will send somebody to collect.
City of Victoria – Protection Money
You must pay money for all of this. The city charges what it calls application fees and business license fees. I call it what it is, “protection money”. That’s because upon payment of those fees the city protects your illegal business. These city fees are much higher for illegal pot shops than they are for legal businesses. If you don’t pay, the police will be sent to close you down. Does all of this sound familiar?
Just remember what the provincial judge said. Pot shops lie. They don’t care about your pain or comfort as much as they care about the money. That’s why they sell mostly recreational pot. On this front, they seem to have found soulmates in Lisa Helps and in City Council.
In closing, think about this for a moment. Pot shops are antithetical to the culture of the groups involved in the types of events Victoria would like to attract. Thus, Victoria has destroyed its long term image for short term gain