Legalization of marijuana brings forth boycott event

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Graphic by Alan Li

On July 1, 2018, marijuana will become legal in certain quantities across Canada.

Because of the conditions of the bill, the specific details regarding quantities, enforcement and distribution have been left to the individual provinces to decide.

While the project is unto itself divisive among Canadian citizens, the results of the 2015 federal election – with the enormous success of a Liberal party who promoted the legalization of cannabis as a significant part of their platform – demonstrate that the majority of citizens at least superficially appear to be in support of the overall plan.

Where discrepancies are found is in the semantics within that mission, especially against Ontario’s plan to create and maintain a veritable, legally-enforced monopoly of Ontario Cannabis Retail Corporation stores across the province.

In a Facebook event page that, at the time of writing, has a subscription of more than 800 people interested or attending called “Boycott Ontario Cannabis Retail Corp”, the backlash is made plain: that this plan for legal dispensaries across Ontario is damaging and unproductive, and that the details of post-legalization distribution should be left in more capable, qualified hands.

As the goal on the page states: “The Cannabis community is being taken over by political gangsterism. We are being forced out of an industry by the people who rallied against us. We will not allow it.”

The event itself—a wide-ranging theme, with very few semantics formally decided—promises that details are to follow, but it is hosted by a pre-existing page called Hamilton Votes Dispensaries, an advocacy group for locally established dispensaries that presently exist in a legal ‘grey area’ throughout the city of Hamilton.

The purpose of their boycott, as can be gleaned from the event page, is that there is value, community and career focus in the pre-existing conditions across Ontario, and to entirely supplant that product demand could be seen as contrary to positive free-market approaches through which Canada has previously blossomed.

The mission of the group is stated on their Facebook page: “2018 is the next municipal election, and we want Cannabis friendly councillors (sic) in our wards that support Cannabis Businesses in Hamilton.”

The page cites that Hamilton’s decisions for dispensaries and control and sale of product should remain within the lines their municipality has already decided upon, citing the success of their 23 dispensaries throughout the city as proof.

On a wider scale, this makes the Ontario government’s plan to create their own stores to sell specifically selected product – all through the power of local dollars and federal support to create a monopoly – at least partially problematic.

The Cord reached out to Hamilton Votes Dispensaries, but they declined to make any kind of comment.

The purpose of their boycott, as can be gleaned from the event page, is that there is value, community and career focus in the pre-existing conditions across Ontario, and to entirely supplant that product demand could be seen as contrary to positive free-market approaches through which Canada has previously blossomed.

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