I have just finished the latest issue of Cannabis Business Times magazine which is delivered free to me by mail every month. This is a high quality, glossy page magazine with superior inking and colour; very expensive to produce and distribute for free. The articles are extremely informative and professionally written. It is chock full of ads from agricultural service providers, security experts, business consultants, seed and fertilizer companies, and other well-established entities that have since diverted and re-tooled existing product lines to accommodate the cannabis industry. In other words, it is well funded. This is only one of the dozens of similar magazines, both paper and online, that come to me weekly or monthly, and some with daily updates.
"Well so what? Good for you," you might say. But my point here is that there is a proliferation of well funded enterprises throughout North America capitalizing on the polar shift in thinking about cannabis, its uses, and its immense possibilities for profitability.
Currently it is an industry worth tens, possibly hundreds, of billions of dollars, still expanding at an unheard of rate, and is uniquely remarkable for one very important reason.
This entire industry is illegal.
These organizations will be ready to go on the day the light changes from red to green. Full gallop right out of the gate, leaving others to eat their dust. Ads are ready, TV slots purchased, online stores ready to go, the whole shebang.
Meanwhile, here in Nova Scotia, we are still considering how to tightly control the distribution of cannabis, what model to choose, how to regulate the myriad aspects that governments rightly have to consider as public representatives. But they are still lining up in the starting gate, and some are still arguing about getting into the race at all. That time has passed. We are not talking about whether we should or shouldn't anymore, it is happening. You're either on the bus or off the bus. After 50 years of talking about this, we don't 'need more time'. It's past time. We don't 'need more studies'. We have over 33,000 studies on the effects of cannabis on the human body and brain. Try reading some of them. Calling for more studies is merely an oft- used, standard, stall tactic designed to allow governments to do nothing.
We've been doing that since 1972. Time is up.
If governments think they can compete with private enterprise on the massive scale that is building south of the border, they are sadly mistaken. Whatever control model governments choose will not withstand the juggernaut of free enterprise and billions of dollars of investment. In the entire history of free markets, when capitalism goes up against government, capitalism wins, maybe not all the battles, but more than enough to claim victory. King Canute has some sage advice for those attempting to hold back the tide.
It's time to get our feet wet. C'mon in. The water's fine.