To cap or not to cap – a question frequently addressed when people talk about legalizing cannabis. This is usually relating to the number of cannabis dispensaries or the amount of cannabis a person may possess or purchase at any given time.
In fact, the city of Portland are currently deciding whether or not to lift the 20-Dispensary Cap law the city currently holds. David Boyer, a leader on getting rid of this law had this to say,
“Government shouldn’t be in the business of picking winners and losers… We should let the consumers and the free market decide how many marijuana shops we need, and which ones should survive. We should treat marijuana stores just like we do our craft breweries.” – [Source]
And within this sentiment, David is 100% correct. There seems to be no special laws surrounding high-end liqor stores, or at the very least – we don’t see the same level of scrutiny as that of the cannabis industry.
Of course, some may argue that cannabis is a drug that has been illegal for decades and to simply legalize without any restrictions might send the wrong message to the kids – of which I respond, “It has never been the job of the government to raise children…”
Whether we as a society legalize prostitution, all drugs, euthanasia – you name it…the principles we live by are taught by our parents. At least, this is how it is supposed to be. More importantly – this has nothing to do with the idea of “capping” consumers or shops alike.
What is the point of capping dispensaries?
When the government wants to impose certain restrictions on a market, such as cannabis – they give power to the black market. Unlike tomatoes that can be grown by everyone – a cap on stores creates a monopoly.
This in turn affects the quality of the marketplace because those “x-number of shops” don’t have to worry about more competition. They become less innovative, they become less competitive and eventually the consumer pays the price.
Mediocrity reigns in monopolized markets. You’ll simply fuel the black and grey market to circumvent it all and defeat the purpose of legalization.
What’s the point of capping consumers?
We don’t feel the need to cap tobacco consumers. We may tax them at higher rates – but that works because the tobacco industry has been legal for centuries. They don’t have a robust black market to compete with and thus, when the government raises a tax on tobacco – consumers will simply have to eat the bullet.
The problem with capping consumers though, is that you’re directly infringing on their human rights. Why don’t we do the same for alcohol? Why is it that people can buy as many packs of cigarettes and nobody bats an eye, however, someone with a pound of weed immediately is on the path to become a drug dealer?
The fact of the matter is that placing a cap on the consumer means that cannabis is “not legal”. Rather, you’ve been permitted to consume X amount due to the graces of your leaders. Step over this and you still go to jail!
This is why we’re still seeing over 600,000 marijuana related arrests every year despite the fact that cannabis is legal in more places in the US than it is illegal. It comes down to the framing of the government in relation to cannabis.
The government’s position on “drug use” is that it is pathological. In other words, consuming any type of narcotic according to the government is a problem – UNLESS it’s been sanctioned by a medical professional.
Yet at no point in time did you vote for a medical professional to dictate what you can and cannot put into your body. We’d like their advice, their input, we’d like to freely consult them at will – but we don’t want them to legislate consumption against us.
Should we then just weed running rampant?
Within the consumer market there will always be some sort of regulation, however the burden of regulation relies on the industry and not the consumer.
However, within cannabis sphere for some reason the burden of regulation resides also on the consumer and as a free adult, this should bother you.
A dispensary should be regulated with no more severity than any store accessible only to adults. As for consumers, they should be able to buy pounds and keep it at home. If you’re worried that people will stock pile and then sell to others…some might.
But let me ask you this – if tomorrow there was no cap on weed, would you go stock up pounds? In most cases, people would answer no. Because that’s a lot of money and while we smoke weed – not everyone wants to sell it. In fact, most of us are just okay with smoking weed and having a good time.
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