Starting over in a Post-Journalism World, Part Seventeen.

When the Canadian regime decided to legalize cannabis, journalists were all giddy in their narratives about it. None actually asked tough questions in the beginning.

We have many high-profile politicians and former politicians who have invested in such companies.

And that is a conflict of interest, but no one really cared about it until the US let the Canadians know those involved are still seen as drug traffickers and can be banned for life from coming to the US.

Now the panic is starting to set in, which it shouldn’t have if we had a press that asked the hard questions and did not treat the middle class people’s pacifier of choice as if it were some cool, edgy thing to consume. The myth of drugs as a recreational activity instead of it being realistically seen as a form of self-medication always skewed both the narrative and the perception.

But there is no critical thinking that has come. Everyone is assuming that legal cannabis will generate big money for Canada, and in the short term, it will.

When casinos were legalized in Canada, there was an initial boom in those cities that had it. People were employed and Americans came across the border to gamble.

And then the crowds were gone, and jobs were lost, especially after the Americans opened superior rival casinos and kept their people at home.

It did nothing to stop illegal gambling. The people at the casinos are all pensioner who come to gamble, listen to some legacy band, and eat at the buffet.

The young crowd do not bother with such middle class geekiness: they gamble illegally, and it did not curb the practice one bit. It is not as if casinos are not bringing the government any revenue; it’s just siphoning off disposable income that could have been spent elsewhere, helping small businesses. The initial rush is gone, and now it is merely a voluntary tax with no product to show for it. No factories to build it; no stores to sell it.

But illegal gambling is still alive and well here. It changed nothing. The young gamblers aren’t going to granny’s casino to blow the pension: they are underground because they are attracted to high stakes games that involve risk and the criminal element who can afford better lures because they have been doing it for decades, and they don’t card you, either. The government casinos are a boring G-rated version of it for the wild and crazy geezer.

And what has been the learning curve here? As usual, none. The plan is that plan must work because everyone is just dying to smoke pot.

People who smoke it are already smoking it. They have their loyalties to their dealers who don’t just sell pot, but hard drugs, weapons, girls, and anything else that’s illegal. They are the original pop-up stores, kids. The only people I actually see excited about this are seniors, who are already smoking the stuff, and some who are now sad because their medical condition prevents them doing it just as it is made legal.

The middle class – the ones who actually need it to cope with their loveless marriages, disappointing children, and dead-end non-rock star white collar job now feel the granny rush of going to the casino. They are middle-aged, past their prime, and have nice houses and good cars because they follow the rigged nonsensical rules they hate, and now can medicate their rage and bitterness without worrying if the cops are going to nab them and give them a stern lecture.

But the illegal trade isn’t going anywhere and will greatly benefit from this move.

Because the feds made no effort in handling this thing, it is a wild west, and as a rule, the only people who benefit when anything goes are criminals. They are uninhibited, and they are not going to let the little mom and pop shops from flourishing. They will terrorize and chase out the stores and take them over. They will wage war, taking one naïve middle-class person’s dive after another, and mark their territory, using the legal stuff as a front as they continue their illegal operations with a patina of protection.

And that is assuming, of course, that a foreign company doesn’t take over, and given Canadian’s disgusting history of being careless, this is the most probable outcome. Our Beer Stores are foreign-owned. So is our wheat board. And British Columbia’s casinos were co-opted, but those are not exceptions. Once foreign interests – particularly criminal foreign interests – swoop in, Canada will not see very much profit.

It could be an Albanian mob, a Chinese one, an Afghani one, or a Russian one.

Politicians have been so certain of their cash cow, that many have bought stakes in cannabis companies – but none of these politicians were ever actual businessmen.

And if the border states move in, that’s the end of that gravy train. Canada has been babbling about this for so long that plenty of other players already have a plan in place, and no our regime is helpless to stop it. If there is money to be made, it is not going to be in Canada. We are a country who has absolutely no history of original enterprise of industrialism, save for steel, which is no longer in Canadian hands, and Blackberry that saw its fortunes drop and get push aside by the US’s Apple and Japan’s Samsung. The factories are American (or British), the goods we buy are from China, and the innovations come from other countries. The people who make money these days are teachers, civil servants, and real estate agents, and even the latter group is seeing their returns diminish.

Pot is a drug, not a magical wand that can turn mediocre entrepreneurs into titans. It is not a knight in shining armour. The undisciplined laws that Maclean’s laments about are the least of the problems. It is not a moral question, nor a medical one. It is not Reefer Madness that is going to sink this country into an abyss. None of that actually matters.

The problem is when you place all your faith in a product, and nothing on the competency of the sellers, your luck only goes so far. Trust this country to make a mess of this and gloriously so, and probably lose money on the entire gamble. We will see lawsuits and plenty of them because now people can sue and have class actions against the sellers. Auto insurance rates will go up, as well as premiums for house insurance and life insurance because that’s what insurance companies do.  

But most importantly, the illegal market will thrive for one reason: their clientele – the ones who are coveted will be underage to buy it. The legal stores will have to ask for ID. The illegals ones have no such confines, and they will keep their clients because they will have first crack at them. Legal shops will be for the old fogeys who think bragging about eating gummy weed makes them look young and hip, not old and nerdy, except they are old and nerdy and no amount of weed is going to cover up their dweebiness.

I will not be surprised once those realities hit the legal stores in their wallets, and they begin to lobby hard for across the board decriminalization of all drugs and to lower the age of consumption.

They will make money from it, but not enough, and that will be a serious problem because they have already spent what they projected. It is why they are dragging their feet on NAFTA and insulting and sassing off to world leaders without regard to the consequences. They honestly think they have found the answer to life, but they should remember what happened to the Ontario Liberals who were permissive and were repaid by getting turfed by other parties. Do not expect a grateful electorate. Once pot is made legal, they’ll have no more use for the Liberals who have no second act.

It will be the casinos all over again. Our government is Seinfeldian in nature: never learning or having a moment of reflection as it indulges and lives in the selfish now.

Had journalists been real journalists, they would have immediately started thinking of every angle. It doesn’t have to be an illegal thing made legal. It could have been any business that brought something new to the social fabric, such as social media, or online retailers, such as Amazon.

But they never do. They don’t want to sound like killjoy nerds, even though they are. If a government has no plan, there is no control.

And what if other countries decided to ban Canadians for life? What if organized crime starts muscling in? We are already seeing brazen daylight mob and gang wars here, and yet no one questions why.

Those were the questions that should have been asked: demanding the government spell out their plans in detail was key. If you are going to do something, then you have to do it right.

An alternative would be looking into every facet to see the potentials benefits, risks, and dangers. False positivity hides troubles that destroy lives later on because no one thought such cataclysms could possibly exist.

But they do. There will be money made, but more money lost, and if cannabis doesn’t save Canada from itself, we have no Plan B to fall back on because the government and our press have no memory of the past or understanding of the future. They only live in the now and never think about tomorrow…