BY OLE HAMMARLUND
Recent indications from both Justin Trudeau and the provinces indicate that they still think of pot as a medicine requiring special dispensaries.
This reminds me of past attitudes towards alcohol. When I arrived here 40 years ago, you could not consume a glass of beer outside, as it was considered dangerous for children to watch adults drink. Thank God that we have come a long way since. You can now consume alcohol, cigarettes, chocolate cake and many other things, not necessarily good for you but definitely fun, in public.
Why should pot be treated so differently? It is not as if we are introducing a new and untried drug. Pot has been widely used for decades and it is already going to be hard for the government to lure customers away from an existing, extensive and convenient supply system, albeit illegal.
Now personally I prefer to be legal, given the choice. For instance I know moonshine can be had, but I prefer the stuff available in liquor stores, not only for a better taste but also knowing it won’t make me sick.
Similarly I think many will prefer buying Pot in a store, knowing that it is not only legal but also tested for pesticides and strength. Many more would rather contribute taxes that can help the government than contribute to some drug cartel or biker band.
So why the need for special stores? Pot does not take a lot of space, and could easily be accommodated in the liquor stores we already have.
Similarly local pot producers, like Jewell’s should be allowed to sell their product on premises, just like wineries and distilleries sell their wares.
And what is this nonsense that you can buy it but not smoke it anywhere? I am all for smoke free zones, but where you are allowed to smoke a cigarette a joint should be allowed as well.
I understand that the government stores will only sell pot, not brownies or other products containing pot. Fair enough, that will make it easier to fit the pot packages onto their shelves. However others should be allowed to sell products that incorporate Pot or even a rolled joint.
For instance bars who resell shots from a bottle bought in a liquor store should also be allowed to sell a rolled joint to be smoked on premises like an out door terrace where drinks and cigarettes are already consumed.
Similarly restaurants, who already serve alcohol in various forms, should be able to offer pot brownies or similar concoctions, the only condition being that the pot is bought legally from a government store and of course that minors will not b served.
There is a real opportunity to expand tourism if only the government was not acting like Pot is a bad tasting medicine. People use pot because it is fun and why not make P.E.I. a more fun place, like say Amsterdam or Copenhagen?
So I highly recommend that government officials smoke a few and then sit down and discuss how the new legislation can be used to full advantage for new economic growth on P.E.I. My proposed steps will be cheaper to implement and more successful in competing with illegal growth operations and sales.
- Ole Hammarlund is an architect who has enjoyed smoking a few in the past 40 years, with no ill effect. He still prefers a good bottle of wine bought at the liquor store.