The Canadian cannabis industry got a rude reminder this week about the grey area in which they operate, when local police in Toronto, Hamilton and Vancouver executed coordinated raids of Cannabis Culture brand dispensaries and arrested the shops’ owners. If former Toronto police chief Bill Blair has it his way though, those raids won’t be going on for much longer, but those dispensaries won’t be nearly as welcoming, either.
Blair is an advisor to Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, and has been tasked with crafting the administration's marijuana policy. Trudeau promised voters during the 2015 election that he would legalize cannabis, and under Blair’s guidance, he plans to follow through - by making Canada the world’s most boring cannabis destination.
“I don’t want a party in Canada. I want less people smoking cannabis — and I don’t want to glamorise it so kids think it’s cool.” Blair said in an interview with the Spectator.
The kids are Blair’s main concern. In Canada teenage cannabis use is the highest in the world, with almost 25% of the country’s teens getting stoned regularly. Blair wants to cut off the black market that he says preys on teenagers and make the regulated market similar to cigarettes and alcohol, with no advertising, no discount sales and no fun.
“Cannabis use is endemic in our society.” Blair said. “It’s a massive market and we’re simply not managing it. Legalisation for adults means we can regulate supply and put our law enforcement resources where we need them: policing the minors’ market and going after the really dangerous drugs that kill people.”
As for those raids that happened a few days ago at dispensaries across Canada, Blair, and his buddy Trudeau, have stressed the need to enforce the existing laws until they are able to institute legalization.
No matter how boring they make marijuana, legalization and regulation will allow Canadian citizens to chose for themselves about weed, and let cannabis entrepreneurs conduct business without the fear of persecution. And with Blair and Trudeau publicly focused on ending prohibition, all that’s left is to set a date.