By Graeme MacKay, Editorial Cartoonist, The Hamilton Spectator – Friday November 27, 2015
The LCBO wants to sell you pot
Stocking weed alongside wine at the LCBO is the best way to protect public health, say addiction experts. But for marijuana advocates it’s more of the same prohibition.
In a statement released Monday, the union representing LCBO workers said the provincially owned stores are the ideal place to sell marijuana, should the federal government legalize it.
“If they do legalize it, then it’s a drug,” Warren (Smokey) Thomas told the Star. “So we think that, like alcohol, it should be controlled.”
Thomas, president of the Ontario Public Service Employees Union, said secure warehouses and staff trained to check ages are some of the reasons the LCBO should be the sole source of legal pot in the province, as it is with most alcohol.
The scheme would also generate revenue for the government to combat the potential social costs. But marijuana advocates say those social costs and the spectre of public danger are overblown, and government-run sales would continue a prohibitionist regulatory approach.
“Our view of course has always been that marijuana is one of the safest drugs. It’s not any worse, slightly better, than coffee,” said Blair Longley, the leader of the federal Marijuana Party.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s Liberals won this fall’s election with an campaign platform promising to “legalize, regulate, and restrict access to marijuana.” However, Longley maintains the drug should be proportionately restricted based on its danger. So ideally, he said, anyone should be free to grow and use the plant how she wishes with the informed consent as to any danger.
Hugo St-Onge, leader of Quebec’s Bloc Pot party agrees that government stores are not the way forward.
“We need to stop comparing marijuana to alcohol,” he said. “Marijuana should have its own model, its own system.”
He prefers a food-model regulatory system, with sales done in a similar fashion to Amsterdam’s cafés. (Source: Hamilton Spectator)