An ArmchairMayor.ca editorial by Mel Rothenburger.
AMONG THE many questions still to be answered on how best to deal with the legalization of recreational marijuana is — who should sell it?
In B.C. there are several options, depending on which vested interest group is doing the talking. A string of them made submissions to the government in its recently ended online input exercise.
The B.C. Government Employees Union and the Private Liquor Store Association say the experience of liquor stores in selling product in an age-controlled environment makes them the obvious choice. And Premier John Horgan has also said he likes that option.
Another possibility is pharmacies, with the Neighbourhood Pharmacy Association of Canada making a case for selling medical marijuana and adding recreational marijuana as one more controlled product.
Also making a strong pitch are convenience stores, represented by the Western Convenience Stores Association, which point out they have a ready-made distribution system.
But Good Lord, do we really need a marijuana sales outlet on every block?
“Pick up a litre of milk and a bag of weed at the corner store on your way home, will you, hon?”
They already sell ciggies, of course, but tobacco and cannabis on the same shelf?
And while the convenience stores association says, on the one hand, that selling marijuana requires no special knowledge, it says on the other hand its employees must meet a “high degree of accountability” for compliance with regulations and so on.
Make up your mind.
As for pharmacies, selling medical marijuana along with other medicines makes some sense, but mixing recreational and medical cannabis doesn’t seem like a good match to me.
Liquor stores would just be adding a new take-out product for getting stoned, so that seems consistent. Yet there’s general agreement that consuming marijuana and liquor together has to be discouraged, so maybe liquor stores aren’t a great idea either.
To be honest, I’m conflicted, except for one thing — whichever way B.C. goes, please, let’s not put marijuana behind the counter of the neighbourhood convenience store.
Mel Rothenburger’s Armchair Mayor editorials appear twice daily Mondays through Thursdays on CFJC- TV. His Armchair Mayor column is published Saturdays on ArmchairMayor.ca and CFJC Today. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.