Last Thursday, the City of Victoria approved rezoning for its first farm-to-table cannabis operation. A majority of the council voted to amend bylaws so one facility can house four different Health Canada licenses.
The Victoria Cannabis Company will have a nursery, micro-cultivation, processing and sales all in one spot, located at 340 Mary St.
The City of Victoria approved the rezoning despite another cannabis retailer within 400 metres. But Councillor Jeremy Caradonna justified bending the rules since a farm-to-table site is “substantially different” from a regular cannabis retailer.
“I do think this is going to be a game changer for Vic West,” he told the Times Colonist. “I am convinced that it will bring a lot of new business into the neighbourhood. In fact, my hope is that a rising tide lifts all ships.”
That is a great sentiment, but eight years too late.
Too Little Too Late?
Caradonna championed the farm-to-table cannabis operation coming to Victoria. “You can see the production facility, you can meet the grower,” he said.
Councillor Chris Coleman compared Victoria’s farm-to-table cannabis to the early days of craft beer.
“I would remind people to look back to 1980 when there were no brew pubs in the province of British Columbia, and now we see a vibrant industry on Vancouver Island that’s known as the Ale Trail, but it’s based on craft breweries,” he said. “That’s exactly where this is going to go.”
When Justin Trudeau and the Liberals pledged to “legalize, regulate, and restrict” cannabis, B.C. politicians should have been asking: what do you mean by regulate and restrict?
Most of British Columbia’s “illegal” cannabis trade was (and still is) peaceful individuals who love the herb. They love consuming it, growing it, and sharing it. They have no incentive to engage in other illegal activities or poison their customers.
But no B.C. politician – even among the Greens – came to B.C. Bud’s defence. Eight years later, the industry still struggles.
The fact that Victoria is getting its first farm-to-table cannabis operation five years after legalization is telling.
If you put the government in charge of the Sahara, within a few years, there’d be a shortage of sand.
Farm-to-Table Cannabis Coming to Victoria
Why didn’t Victoria councillors come to B.C. Bud’s defence during the critical 2015-2018 pre-legalization years?
Why didn’t the government of British Columbia create a farm-gate licence until 2020?
Stigma is one primary reason. Even with legal cannabis, two Victoria councillors opposed the farm-to-table cannabis operation. They said it would negatively impact nearby residents.
In other words, we’re pro-cannabis, just not in our backyard.
Likewise, B.C.’s NDP government lacks a spine. They effectively handed over their multi-billion dollar industry to Ottawa and the Laurentian Elites.
This would be like if Alberta handed over ownership and control of its oil sands to Ottawa cronies.
In fact, it was Señor Trudeau who attempted to nationalize Canada’s oil and gas sectors. Little surprise that the Little Potato followed in his father’s footsteps with B.C. Bud.
Unfortunately, Trudeau Jr. got away with it.
And now this is the result. Authorities target Canada’s oldest compassion club as a criminal element. Thousands of B.C. Bud farmers remain underground or partially licensed as “micro-grows.”
Meanwhile, Victoria’s authorities rezone and flaunt their own rules to accommodate a private, taxpaying farm-to-table cannabis operator.
We’ve got nothing against the Victoria Cannabis Company and wish them all the best. But let’s recognize that the game’s rules are stacked against some while benefiting others.
What Kind of Regulation?
A farm-to-table cannabis operator coming to Victoria is excellent news. It should have happened a while ago.
But many will say the “Wild West” of B.C. Bud doesn’t account for public health and safety, so the “Community Safety Unit” is justified in targeting them.
Historical evidence disagrees—and not just recent history. Throughout the centuries, disputes between consumers and producers, or producers and other producers, would arise and cause issues.
Fortunately, Western culture figured out how to settle disputes in ways that didn’t provoke vigilante justice or retribution. Over the years, these disputes and resolutions became known as the English, or Anglo-American, common law.
From this process came the basic rules underpinning Western civilization. These laws were procedural and settled according to the particular details of the cases.
Demagogue politicians inserted themselves in the 19th century. They made reforms in the name of the “public good.” Like, for example, undermining how courts handled pollution.
Before “democracy” showed up, Anglo-American common law considered pollution a violation of private property. I can’t dump my trash on your front lawn. But if I burn it on my property and the smoke travels across to your house?
According to 19th-century democratic politicians, that’s okay.
And now, according to 21st-century politicians, we all have to pay higher taxes and eat bugs to “solve climate change” when the problem stems from too much political interference.
They’re effectively saying, “Oh you’re greening out? Here, smoke more THC-potent bud.”
Farm-to-Table Cannabis Coming to Victoria
The fact is that we already have the rules on the books to regulate cannabis effectively.
Tort law ensures products are safe and accurately labelled. Criminal law protects against theft and property damage. Property law and contract law are fundamental to our rules-based society.
It is a typical straw man that B.C. Bud’s proponents want a “free-for-all” or some “unregulated” chaotic anarchy.
What’s impressive is that the people who make this argument, who believe we cannot self-regulate our economy, also believe that the government can regulate economies without ill effects.
It’s circular logic. “People can’t be trusted so we need a government made of people can’t be trusted so we need a government made of people can’t be trusted…”
Lao Tzu once said, “The more laws and order are made prominent, the more thieves and robbers there will be.”
And that’s certainly true in the cannabis industry, where B.C. politicians and councillors demonize one group of cannabis producers while exalting the taxable group to top-tier status.
A better approach would see cannabis liberalized. We already have a framework in place. The Anglo-American common laws are already on the books.
Anything above and beyond is a government cash grab.
This content was originally published here.