Turns out there’s little difference between a country “going to pot,” and one not allowing free market sales of pot. To prove the point, two seemingly unrelated recent events in two different parts of the world have demonstrated that when it comes to crony politics, state monopolies, and greedy politicians, every country has its share.
In Venezuela, people lined the streets to buy bread from their local private bakeries. Now the bread lines are gone because the bakeries are gone, declared illegal by Venezuela’s socialist government that has chosen to distribute the bread via its state monopoly.
In Canada, people lined the streets to buy cannabis at private dispensaries. Now the lines are gone because the dispensaries are gone, declared illegal by Canada’s crony-influenced government that has chosen to restrict and monopolize cannabis distribution.
To most, Canada’s current “pot sales crisis” naturally pales when compared to Venezuela’s “bread sales crisis.” After all, a shortage of food merits far greater urgency than does a restricted market in cannabis, especially when runaway inflation is part of the crisis.
But the philosophical struggle between those on the side of individual freedom and free enterprise, and those on the side of state monopoly and the criminalization of private trade, is exactly the same. Whether bread vs cannabis, taxis vs Uber, or about electricity, healthcare, or education – the principles that define the good and evil side of the struggle never change.
However, while the principles in this struggle never change, the principals constantly do.
On the bread front in Venezuela, the principals are the private bakers who simply want to bake the bread their customers want, versus the socialist thugs who consider doing that a crime.
On the pot front in Canada, the principals are the private dispensary owners who simply want to provide the product their customers want, versus the government cronies who consider doing that a crime, while lining up for their shares of cannabis futures.
“Prince of Pot” Marc Emery and Cannabis Culture owner Jodie Emery (along with other dispensary operators) have been arrested and risk life sentences in Canadian prisons for conspiring to distribute cannabis. That such a legal consequence is even possible in a country like Canada is morally obscene.
Featured in producer Paul McKeever’s excellent documentary, The Principle of Pot, many may be surprised to learn that Prince of Pot Marc Emery’s history of activism has involved issues of taxation, government sports funding, Sunday shopping, censorship, Business Improvement Areas, and various candidacies for public office.
Along the way, he was even jailed for “employing too many people on a Sunday” in his opposition to Ontario Sunday shopping restrictions imposed by the then-NDP government.
So no matter what the issue, and no matter the country in which it is played out, the principle of pot continues to prove itself universally relevant – and Just Right.