Are we going a little overboard in our effort to “approve” retail outlets for cannabis sales?

Certainly a modicum of care and consideration is important as the sale of recreational marijuana becomes legal in Canada this October. But really, do we need to set up so many hoops to jump through that legally selling marijuana through a storefront becomes an exercise in attrition?

It appears so.

Late last week, the provincial government released information on the process prospective cannabis retailers will have to undertake to garner a provincial licence.

There’s so much information to deliver — and just as much red tape to wade through — that the province has established a portal to manage it all.

Locally, Osoyoos Council wants to conduct a “site-specific” review on each proposed application rather than establishing a zoning bylaw to regulate enterprises like it does with other industries.

Site-specific means Council would review each proposed retail site “on its own merits,” allowing it each time to look at the proximity of the proposed outlet to schools and parks and the outlet’s potential impact on existing adjacent businesses and other properties, parking and access.

What ever happened to just rolling a pinch and flicking your Bic?

If Canadians will soon be able to legally possess and use marijuana, why are we as a collective community going to such great lengths to continue its prohibition?

Do we still view marijuana as the “demon weed?”

Are lingering impressions and judgements, moral values and other considerations clouding our capacity to objectively move forward?

For a society built on capitalism, a fair market and level playing field, that’s the only conclusion that makes sense. Otherwise, we would be allowing the “market” to sort out what sales models succeed and what others fail.

The irony of the whole ordeal is that the burden of building a storefront business will make it difficult — if not impossible — for members of the grassroots community advocating tirelessly for legal marijuana to benefit from their efforts.

Instead, like everything else these days, it seems cannabis legalization will follow the money.

And somehow that just doesn’t feel right.

Smoking marijuana is the most fundamental symbol of adolescent protest. Rolling its legalization in a corporate paper of overburdened propriety is just bad dope.

Thank heavens there’s still the option of growing your own.


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