#3: Grow Industry

Magazine contributor Nicholas Hune-Brown discusses the impending demise of marijuana prohibition

by

Chris Berube is the host of The Walrus Podcast.


  • Glen

    Hey, this is great! Can I subscribe in iTunes?

  • Pamela Mccoll

    It is illegal to advertise narcotics and pharmaceuticals in Canada – because the public does not want to see drug use promoted to the general population – including kids. Like California we now have billboards, ads on radio, t.v. and print for marijuana but Health Canada and the government have stated they will crack down on it.
    In California they have now closed down 88% of the the medical marijuana dispensaries because of massive abuse by recreational users, and they have become beacons for crime – crime maps and crime reports evidence this point.
    In Colorado the same trend is happening and the support for legalization fell 7% in 2014 as reported by Gallop Poll and there is a very strong push back under way.
    There is nothing inevitable about legalization or the acceptance of marijuana – look to Sweden and the UK along with Holland and how they turned back from permissive policies.
    This reporter comments on the brazen nature of these drug dealers.
    It is wrong to compare marijuana prohibition to alcohol prohibition as they are very different
    experiments. Prohibition of alcohol was trying to put the genie back in the bottle – with 80% of people using the product – very very different from marijuana at 8.6%.
    Legalization is a conversation about normalization and commercialization and not about addressing incarceration – if is a phony argument the Liberals are using – if you want to not see people charged for possession that is decriminalization not legalization. We can look at judicial reform without moving to legalization – and offering this product up to Big Tobacco.

    • http://drugsense.org/me/ Matthew Elrod

      “Prohibition of alcohol was trying to put the genie back in the bottle –
      with 80% of people using the product – very very different from
      marijuana at 8.6%.”

      Is that not discriminatory? To allow people to brew their own beer and make their own wine but to criminalize people for growing their own cannabis merely because more people consume alcohol than consume cannabis?

      “Legalization is a conversation about normalization and commercialization and not about addressing incarceration.”

      No, legalization is a precondition to implementing an alternative regulatory model to prohibition. We could regulate cannabis like food, pharmaceuticals, alcohol, tobacco, natural health products or enriched uranium, or an entirely new regulatory model based on existing regulatory models. Unlike Americans, Canadians do not have a constitutional right to advertise under the umbrella of free speech. Further, the government may require manufacturers to use plain packaging with warning labels and discouraging graphics.

      • Pamela Mccoll

        How are we doing with controlling legal tobacco and legal alcohol – not well at all – and with entrenched interest groups and the wealth of these sectors good luck doing more to curtail their advances on the world wide market. Ask Bill Gates and Michael Bloomberg how the plain packaging fight is going – they at least are doing what they can with their wealth to stop tobacco from killing the estimated one billion people in this century – which is 10 times the amount that died in the last century – look at the ambition in the pot industry – and you think they will be curtailed and keep their hands off the youth market – seriously ?

        • Pamela Mccoll

          We can not even sue tobacco like they did in 1998 in the USA – we are trying to do so for $100 billion in public health damage – check out the recent case in Quebec – a win for us but they will appeal. We will have to chase marijuana down the tracks just like we have had to do with tobacco.

        • http://drugsense.org/me/ Matthew Elrod

          Actually, we are doing quite well with tobacco. Smoking rates have been dropping for decades. Canadian teens are about twice as likely to try cannabis than try tobacco. Bylaws now limit where smokers may partake and laws mandate plain packaging and warning labels. Sin taxes offset some of the social costs.

          Teens consistently report that cannabis is easier to obtain than alcohol. According to Statistics Canada, “In 2011, 78.0% of Canadians reported drinking in the past year, a rate not statistically different from that reported in 2010 (77.0%). Since 2004 there has been a statistically significant decrease in past-year alcohol use among youth 15 to 24 years of age, to 70.8% in 2011 from 82.9%.” As with tobacco, sin taxes help to offset the social costs.

          I can not ask Gates or Bloomberg about anything, but I can remind you that Canadians do not have an absolute right to free speech and the government of Canada may mandate plain packaging and warning labels.

          Yes, I seriously believe that a legally regulated market would be preferable to a black market controlled by criminals and teenagers, otherwise I would be advocating alcohol, tobacco and junk food prohibition.

      • Pamela Mccoll

        The WHO said the worst mistake they ever made was allowing for the legalization of tobacco. The United Nations with 190 countries have signed on to not legalize psychtropic substances because they are dangerous – and that includes marijuana. Why would Canada go against the rest of the global drug prevention community ? Take a look at the u-turn in the UK and then take a look at the great results Sweden is getting – full on prohibition and the lowest rates in the world, compassionate prohibition that addresses the needs of the user, the public and kids – restrictive without being repressive.

        • http://drugsense.org/me/ Matthew Elrod

          The WHO is not responsible for tobacco policy, but they do make recommendations.

          The countries that have signed treaties prohibiting cannabis did not do so because cannabis is dangerous, but rather, because the United States insisted that they sign these treaties.

          “Why would Canada go against the rest of the global drug prevention community?”

          Because cannabis prohibition is expensive, ineffective and in fact counter-productive.

          I have already shared a link explaining how Swedish drug policy is not as marvelous as you claim.

          http://www.tdpf.org.uk/blog/drug-policy-sweden-repressive-approach-increases-harm

        • http://drugsense.org/me/ Matthew Elrod

          I will ask again, is it not discriminatory to criminalize people for cultivating their own cannabis without criminalization people for brewing their own beer merely because beer is more popular than cannabis?

          Would it seem fair to you to criminalize people for growing their own kale while not criminalizing people for growing their own lettuce because lettuce is more popular than kale?

  • Pamela Mccoll

    Next time find the opposition or opposing argument – the size of the opposition might surprise you – the world restricts the use of marijuana because it is a dangerous product that is not safe for human consumption. – no country has legalized marijuana – ( all be it Uruquay – against the will of the people and thanks to organized money ).

    • http://drugsense.org/me/ Matthew Elrod

      You have participated in interviews in which no opposing arguments were on offer. Journalists are under no obligation to provide opposing views.

      We prohibited cannabis in a climate of hysteria and ignorance in 1923, primarily because Emily Murphy and others associated cannabis with visible minorities intent on morally corrupting white people. There was no debate nor any scientific evidence that cannabis is dangerous on offer.

      • Pamela Mccoll

        We are not in 1923 and the pot lobby have denied the evidence of science and made up talking points such as comparing marijuana to alcohol as deflection points. There campaign is rooted in 15 talking points and it is their denial of the risks associated with use that will be their downfall. Marijuana is not safe for human consumption and calling it safer than alcohol does not alert that fact.
        The pot lobby’s campaign is one of deceit and propaganda and it is time science, fact and the truth about marijuana be told. Legalization is the commercialization and normalization of cannabis that will increase use. More pot used is not in the interest of the larger society – of non-users all 92% of adults in North America do not use pot and do not want more exposure to smoke and they do not want their kids sold on drugs. You can call Reefer Madness all you want but the international world of scientific research will win the day.

        • http://drugsense.org/me/ Matthew Elrod

          You asserted that the world prohibited cannabis because cannabis is dangerous. This is not correct. Cannabis was prohibited because it was associated with visible minorities and erroneously thought by some to cause madness.

          Almost everyone, not just cannabis law reform advocates, compares alcohol with cannabis, for among other reasons, the two substances are economic substitutes with cross-price elasticities, rather like butter and margarine. For example, a pediatrician recently compared the two substances in the New York Times, and I do not think he is part of a deceitful “pot lobby.”

          http://www.nytimes.com/2015/03/17/upshot/alcohol-or-marijuana-a-pediatrician-faces-the-question.html?_r=0

          “Marijuana is not safe for human consumption and calling it safer than alcohol does not alert that fact.”

          I assume you meant it does not alter that “fact.” Can you elaborate on what you mean by “not safe for human consumption.” What, in your opinion, is safe for human consumption? Sugar? Fat? Pharmaceuticals? Surely safety depends, in part, on the quantity consumed.

          “Legalization is the commercialization and normalization of cannabis that will increase use.”

          No, legalization is just a precondition to an alternative regulatory model, which might include a prohibition on advertizing, and might also mandate plain packaging with warning labels and discouraging graphics, as we see with tobacco.

          Given that tobacco use has been dropping for decades, an increase in use is not an inevitable consequence of legalization. On the contrary, legalization would allow for better prevention, education and treatment.

          “More pot used is not in the interest of the larger society,”

          Actually, because cannabis is an economic substitute for alcohol, more cannabis use means less alcohol use, which is in the interest of society. If we lived in a drug-free utopia, then more cannabis use might be problematic, but that is far from clear. To be sure we would need to compare a cannabis consuming society with a drug-free control society.

          “all 92% of adults in North America do not use pot and do not want more
          exposure to smoke and they do not want their kids sold on drugs.”

          I suspect that most cannabis consumers are also opposed to unwanted exposure to smoke and sales to minors. The same is probably true of tobacco smokers. Happily, we have bylaws limiting where smokers may partake and we have laws prohibiting tobacco sales to minors. There is no need to criminalize all smokers and criminalize tobacco growers and vendors to achieve these objectives.