Corporate Feeding Frenzy Begins As Canada Prepares to Legalize Marijuana

by Th0rn –

colorado medical marijuana

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s Liberals were recently elected in part on the promise to legalize marijuana — not just medical marijuana but marijuana for recreational use.

As the day when they plan to introduce the relevant legislation draws near, both corporations and governments are smelling not just smoke in the air, but the sweet, sweet scent of huge amounts of money to be made:

Canada’s biggest drugstore chain is exploring the possibility of getting into medical-marijuana sales in a move that would dramatically alter the landscape of the new industry, bringing one of the country’s best-known retailers into the business if the strategy went ahead.

Shoppers Drug Mart Corp. has held multiple meetings and phone conversations with licensed medical-marijuana producers across Canada over the past year about carrying a variety of brands in their drugstores, according to people involved in those conversations.

The chain, which has more than 1,300 locations across Canada, is also said to be in talks with suppliers about a generic line of the drug that would be sold under the drugstore’s own brand, according to people present during the conversations….

Mark Gobuty, the chief executive of Peace Naturals Project Inc., one of the producers licensed by Health Canada to grow medical marijuana, said over the past six months he has been approached by two of Canada’s largest pharmacy chains about becoming a potential supplier.

“What they wanted to do was to lock up a certain amount of supply at a guaranteed price,” said Mr. Gobuty…

But large drugstore chains aren’t the only ones hoping to grab a piece of the pot pie for themselves. Provincial governments that run liquor distribution outlets are hoping to set aside a big chunk of the profits for themselves:

Were Shoppers to enter the market, the move would set up a potential battle with the provinces, which are also eyeing the profits that could be made from selling various forms of the drug once Ottawa creates a regulatory framework for the recreational industry. Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne has touted her province’s LCBO liquor stores as an ideal model for legal marijuana sales, and is no doubt drawn by the profit margins the province could make.

How much money are they envisioning to be made off the humble weed?

A new report from CIBC World Markets says Canada’s federal and provincial governments could reap as much as $5-billion annually in tax revenues from the sale of legal marijuana….

“The bottom line is that federal (and) provincial governments might reap as much as $5-billion from legalization, but only if all the underground sales are effectively curtailed,” [CIBC economist Avery Shenfeld] wrote.

Only if all the underground sales are effectively curtailed? Haven’t they been trying to do exactly that for over half a century, and in the process produced a vast and thriving underground industry instead?

Well I wish them luck in the effort.

I say let everyone jump in and let the market decide. Since we live in an age when markets decide everything else, why the hell not?

It’s sad, though, to think about all the people who had their lives ruined by arrests and prosecution and imprisonment for buying and selling weed for all these many decades.

Now corner drug stores will slap their various colorful brand labels on their carefully market segment targeted varieties of pot, and governments will take their own slice through taxes and even by selling their own branded varieties.

These last 50-60 years of prohibition of a simple plant, and the metastasis of policing and surveillance to curtail even the sharing of the forbidden leaf and bud because it was such a dangerous thing — what was it all for?

 

Reprinted with permission from Daily Kos