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Month: November 2019

Creative Solutions for more Consumer Choice

Tbilisi, Georgia mandates all taxis to be white – Activists respond with free-market education on wheels!

In October 2019 the Georgian capital Tbilisi introduced tighter rules defining taxi services in the city. The formerly very open and competitive system got replaced by mandating taxis to be painted in white if they want to pick up passengers on the street. The new law also obliges taxis to be left-hand drive vehicles. In a relatively poor country like Georgia, most cars are imported used cars and come from both countries with left and right traffic. Both measures are adding costs to taxi drivers and ultimately to consumers.

Political activist and leader of the Girchi Party, Zurab Japaridze came up with an innovative solution to bypass these new regulations. He and his party set up a company called Shmaxi offering unemployed taxi drivers to drive passengers while educating them about the benefits of freedom. Passengers will not pay for the distance traveled but the length of their educational session. The drivers can either conduct the session themselves or play an audiobook in the car. Part of the educational canon are books and essays by Nobel Laureate Milton Friedman. 

Japaridze told JAM News: “The company will hire driver/educators who will convey ideas about freedom to passengers and talk to them about right and wrong. If the drivers lack the necessary knowledge, we will conduct training sessions and provide video materials that the passengers can listen to.”

This educational services on wheels allow Tbilisi’s consumers to pick between the newly regulated taxi services and the usually cheaper and more fun Shmaxi. Over 500 drivers have also signed up to drive Shmaxis around town.

Campaigner Mariam Ivanidze told me that “Some Shmaxi drivers say they earn more through our company than they could through the major taxi ones”. Shmaxi is not only a political but also a commercial success.

Shmaxi started operating in the Georgian city of Kutais as welli in order to warn local regulators not to repeat the devastating taxi regulations of Tbilisi.

This is a creative and wonderful win for consumer choice and could inspire advocates for competition in the taxi markets around the world. 

Now I am wondering if I should launch Shmaxi London as a response to the recent decision by Transport for London to take away Uber’s license… Listen to Thatcher’s biography while driving from Mayfair to London Heathrow Airport would be an entertaining way of killing the time stuck in traffic.


L’Europe a besoin de politiques intelligentes pour combattre les régimes autoritaires

Le président chinois Xi Jinping et le président russe Vladimir Poutine

OPINION. L’Union européenne est confrontée à une politique active d’influence militaire, commerciale, numérique et technologique de pays menée par des régimes autoritaires comme la Chine et la Russie. Le cas de l’Ukraine ou l’implantation de la 5G par Huawei en sont des exemples. Il est nécessaire que les démocraties libérales telles que l’UE et les États-Unis contrent cette politique en utilisant les principes de l’Etat de droit. Par Yaël Ossowski, Fred Roeder et Luca Bertoletti (*).

Pendant des décennies, la stabilité politique, la croissance économique et la paix ont été indispensables pour faire de l’Europe un continent prospère et libre.

Les institutions de l’Union européenne ainsi que les différents États membres ont été à la tête de ces efforts, en libéralisant le commerce et en ouvrant les marchés pour que les consommateurs et les citoyens soient beaucoup mieux lotis. Une coopération et des échanges accrus ont grandement amélioré la vie de millions de personnes.

Questions clés

Malgré l’ampleur de ces efforts, il reste des questions clés qui devraient tous nous préoccuper en tant que citoyens de pays démocratiques. Le spectre des régimes autoritaires est encore bien réel en Europe, comme en témoignent les mouvements militaires effrontés. Un autre exemple est les influences numériques et technologiques sophistiquées dans nos infrastructures, ainsi que nos établissements politiques.

Au Hong Kong, l’État autoritaire croissant de la Chine recourt à la violence et à l’intimidation pour réprimer des manifestations découlant d’un projet de loi sur l’extradition. L’existence de camps de rééducation chinois pour un million d’Ouïghours, la minorité musulmane, a longtemps été niée, mais elle est maintenant reconnue et couverte dans la presse grand public, comme le New York Times, après des années de campagnes menées par des groupes de défense des droits de la personne.

Les vastes capacités de surveillance de l’État chinois, bien connues de sa population nationale, commencent à avoir un impact sur les citoyens européens. Ceci est une tendance inquiétante.

Salve d’ouverture

Compte tenu de l’influence économique croissante de la Chine en Europe, ces faits doivent être revus à mesure que nous mettons en œuvre de nouvelles technologies. Le débat sur l’infrastructure 5G et Huawei n’en est que la salve d’ouverture. La protection de la vie privée des consommateurs et la sécurité des données doivent être garanties: les efforts visant à les protéger en tenant compte des préoccupations de sécurité nationale lors de l’approvisionnement en technologies clés, comme l’ont fait le Royaume-Uni, la France et l’UE avec le 5G, semblent être la meilleure approche.

Mais des politiques numériques intelligentes ne seront pas efficaces si elles ne protègent pas nos démocraties des menaces réelles.

Aux frontières de l’Union européenne, l’Ukraine se reconstruit après cinq années d’invasion, de conflit et d’affaiblissement stratégique par son puissant voisin russe. Des milliers d’Ukrainiens ont perdu la vie en défendant leur territoire, et la situation reste périlleuse alors que des millions d’anciens citoyens ukrainiens vivent maintenant derrière les frontières russes. C’est souvent oublié. Et il faut tenir compte de l’influence russe dans de nombreux grands partis politiques européens, sans parler des « socialbots » lors des élections.

40% des échanges commerciaux de l’Ukraine liés à l’UE

L’attention renouvelée accordée aux ressources énergétiques et à la position géopolitique de l’Ukraine lors des auditions de destitution du président Donald Trump ne fait qu’accentuer cette tendance, et l’on peut espérer que les pays européens resteront fermes dans leur volonté d’aider le pays qui a déjà aspiré à adhérer à l’UE. L’appui non seulement diplomatique, mais aussi commercial est essentiel à cet égard. Plus de 40 % des échanges commerciaux de l’Ukraine sont directement liés à l’UE, mais ils seront bientôt éclipsés par la Chine.

Des milliers d’entreprises européennes et américaines détiennent des intérêts stratégiques en Ukraine et encore plus d’entreprises ukrainiennes dépendent entièrement de clients européens. Ces relations doivent également persévérer, malgré les menaces de la Russie et de la Chine.

La technologie électrique ukrainienne utilisée dans les conducteurs et les allumages représente près de 285 millions d’euros de commerce avec l’Allemagne, tandis que les exportations allemandes de machines et de voitures sont essentielles pour les consommateurs ukrainiens.

Association entre Chine et Russie

Une autre de ces technologies est le catapultage des aéronefs à bord d’un porte-avions à l’aide d’un moteur à induction électromagnétique. Le président Trump a bizarrement fait sauter cette innovation en déclarant qu’il préférerait les lanceurs à vapeur, qui ont été utilisés pendant des décennies. Cependant, il semble que de nombreux pays européens, dont la France, soient enthousiastes à l’idée d’adopter la nouvelle technologie.

La Chine s’est déjà engagée à utiliser des lanceurs électromagnétiques pour ses futurs porte-avions et s’associe à la Russie pour construire la prochaine génération de navires nucléaires. Cela intervient alors que la Chine est devenue le premier partenaire commercial de l’Ukraine et qu’elle augmente ses investissements sur l’ensemble du continent.

L’Europe va-t-elle se permettre d’être concurrencée ? Quel sera l’impact d’une alliance militaire plus solide entre la Chine et la Russie sur les Européens? Seul l’avenir nous le dira, et nous espérons que nos principes démocratiques nous guideront vers la prospérité et la sécurité en même temps.

Soutien diplomatique

Ce qui reste clair, c’est que les nations européennes doivent mener des politiques intelligentes pour combattre cette montée des régimes autocratiques. Des évaluations minutieuses des importations des technologies, dont la technologie de 5G et autres, seront essentielles, de même qu’un soutien diplomatique.

Les principes démocratiques tels que l’État de droit sont extrêmement importants. Les démocraties libérales telles que l’UE et les États-Unis doivent trouver une approche commune pour protéger les citoyens de l’influence croissante d’acteurs autoritaires comme le régime communiste chinois.

C’est ainsi que nous pouvons continuer à soutenir la démocratie et la prospérité dans le monde entier.

(*) Yaël Ossowski, Fred Roeder et Luca Bertoletti sont directeurs de 21Democracy, un projet de l’agence pour le Choix du Consommateur.

Publié dans La Tribune.

Des départements fédéraux participent à l’obscurantisme dans l’agriculture

OPINION. A travers la promotion d’une agroécologie inefficace et antiscientifique, la Suisse prend des décisions de politique de développement contraires à ses propres recherches scientifiques, écrit Bill Wirtz, analyste de politiques publiques pour le Consumer Choice Center

Pourquoi les institutions suisses participent-elles à la promotion de l’agro-écologie — technologie qui réduit les rendements agricoles pour les pays les plus pauvres?

L’Organisation des Nations Unies pour l’Alimentation et l’Agriculture (ONUAA) s’est donnée comme objectif la promotion d’une alimentation saine et accessible dans le monde. En vue des difficultés existantes dans des continents comme l’Afrique, l’organisation située à Rome s’engage à redéfinir la politique de développement, dans laquelle sont investies la Suisse ainsi que l’Union européenne. Le Committee on World Food Security (CFS) (comité pour la sécurité alimentaire) vient de terminer sa conférence annuelle, au cours de laquelle elle a développé des idées pour promouvoir une meilleure agriculture pour le monde. Le comité est censé promouvoir la convergence politique sur ce sujet. 

Lors d’un événement parallèle, la Direction du développement et de la coopération (DDC), qui est agence de coopération internationale de la Confédération, s’exprime en faveur du système d’agro-écologie. La description de l’événement indique :

“L’agroécologie représente une alternative pour relever un certain nombre de défis dans la poursuite de la santé humaine et planétaire.

L’objectif de cet événement parallèle est d’explorer de façon holistique les liens entre les systèmes alimentaires et la nutrition. Faut-il seulement produire plus ou faut-il aussi produire et consommer mieux ?”

Au premier abord, rien de contestable dans cette déclaration. Qui ne voudrait pas produire de façon plus saine? Mais en coulisses, les problèmes s’accumulent.

L’agro-écologie décrit un ensemble de points de vue sur l’agriculture, et demande une sorte de “back to basics” sur nos méthodes. Pour ses partisans, l’agriculture prospère lorsqu’elle travaille avec les écosystèmes locaux, par exemple en améliorant la qualité des sols et des plantes grâce à la biomasse et à la biodiversité disponibles, plutôt qu’en luttant contre la nature avec des intrants chimiques. Les agriculteurs agro-écologiques cherchent par là à : améliorer les rendements alimentaires pour une alimentation équilibrée, à renforcer les marchés équitables pour leurs produits, à améliorer la santé des écosystèmes et à tirer parti des connaissances et coutumes ancestrales. L’expression “peasant farming” (l’agriculture paysanne) et utilisée de façon récurrente par ces activistes.

Une étude récente menée par des militants pro-agroécologie a montré que l’application de leurs principes à l’Europe réduirait la productivité agricole de 35% en moyenne. Dans des pays en voie de développement, une telle réduction du rendement agricole serait fatale. Il s’avère que la DDC a aussi contribué à l’organisation d’une conférence pro-agroécologie à Nairobi, Kenya au mois de juin. Cette “Conférence internationale sur l’agroécologie transformant les systèmes agricoles et alimentaires en Afrique” présentait des orateurs scientifiquement controversés. Parmi ces orateurs figurent les scientifiques Don Huber et Judy Carmen, qui ont tous deux fait des déclarations non-scientifiques – et tout aussi discréditées – sur les OGM. Tyrone Hayes, qui est célèbre pour son affirmation, maintenant défendue par Alex Jones, le conspirationniste de InfoWars, selon qui l’herbicide atrazine “rend les grenouilles homosexuelles” y était également.

Le message de cette conférence?  Le génie génétique, les pesticides de dernière génération et les engrais synthétiques sont tous mauvais; il faut donc revenir à l’agriculture de nos ancêtres.  Sur le glyphosate, ni l’Autorité européenne de sécurité des aliments (EFSA), ni l’Agence européenne des produits chimiques (ECHA) ont confirmé l’accusation écologiste que le produit est carcinogène. Sur la modification génétique, le Fond national suisse de la recherche scientifique a conduit une des études les plus importantes dans le domaine, notamment dans le Programme national de recherche PNR 59, mandaté par le Conseil fédéral. 

Dans leurs recherches, ces scientifiques n’ont pas trouvé de conséquences néfastes provenant du génie génétique. Ils soulignent qu’ils n’ont pas trouvé des effets négatifs, ce qui confirme les conclusions d’autres organes de recherches internationaux.

L’étude confirme aussi la différence entre les OGM et le génie génétique, décrit par les écologistes comme OGM par la porte derrière. Les scientifiques suisses ajoutent même : “De nouvelles méthodes dans le génie génétique vert sont en mesure de contribuer à l’amélioration de la biosécurité.”

Les écologistes prétendent qu’il s’agirait d’activer le principe de précaution. Mais à quoi bon toute déclaration d’intention sur la précaution, si aucune recherche scientifique ne réussira à les convaincre? La Suisse n’est-elle pas prête à écouter ses propres scientifiques?

Pire encore, à travers des propres agences, et à travers la promotion d’une agro-écologie inefficace et anti-scientifique, la Suisse prend des décisions de politique de développement contraires à ses propres recherches scientifiques. Trouble dissociatif de l’identité ou dissonance cognitive, les électeurs doivent se demander à quoi servent leurs dépenses d’impôts si l’Etat ignore ses propres experts. Qui prendra la responsabilité de convaincre des paysans africains d’adopter des modèles agricultures que nous savons être les moins efficaces?

Originally published here.


The Consumer Choice Center is the consumer advocacy group supporting lifestyle freedom, innovation, privacy, science, and consumer choice. The main policy areas we focus on are digital, mobility, lifestyle & consumer goods, and health & science.

The CCC represents consumers in over 100 countries across the globe. We closely monitor regulatory trends in Ottawa, Washington, Brussels, Geneva and other hotspots of regulation and inform and activate consumers to fight for #ConsumerChoice. Learn more at consumerchoicecenter.org.

Consumer Group Says Open Up Cannabis Market

A consumer advocacy group is concerned with the Higgs government’s requests for proposal for a single operator to take over Cannabis NB.

David Clement, North American affairs manager for Consumer Choice Centre, says the government is taking away any chance of healthy competition and entrepreneurship and should use the Alberta model.

“It has competition between different firms and different companies. You have small businesses applying for these licences and opening up stores with more than 200 outlets thus far,” stated Clement.

“Most of the benefits from the private sector come from the competitive and entrepreneurial spirit that exists when you open a market up, so by consolidating everything in one company, it is almost trading one monopoly for another.”

Although the centre agrees with the idea of having Cannabis NB privatized, it says the Higgs government is taking one step forward and two steps back with this approach.

Originally posted here.


The Consumer Choice Center is the consumer advocacy group supporting lifestyle freedom, innovation, privacy, science, and consumer choice. The main policy areas we focus on are digital, mobility, lifestyle & consumer goods, and health & science.

The CCC represents consumers in over 100 countries across the globe. We closely monitor regulatory trends in Ottawa, Washington, Brussels, Geneva and other hotspots of regulation and inform and activate consumers to fight for #ConsumerChoice. Learn more at 
consumerchoicecenter.org

Now Is the Time: Congressional Legalization of Cannabis Will Unite a Polarized Nation

CONTACT:
Yaël Ossowski
Deputy Director
Consumer Choice Center
[email protected]

Now Is the Time: Congressional Legalization of Cannabis Will Unite a Polarized Nation

Washington, D.C. –  The eyes of the nation are on the U.S. Capitol this week as millions are tuning in to the impeachment hearings of President Donald Trump. There is plenty of polarization to go around, but Congress has a unique opportunity to deliver a bipartisan win that will be cheered by millions of Americans: rescheduling cannabis would do exactly that.

The House Judiciary Committee today reviewed H.R. 3884, the Marijuana Opportunity Reinvestment and Expungement Act of 2019, a bill that would remove Schedule 1 drug status for cannabis, set up simple rules and community incentives for decriminalization, and allow states to create their own rules.

Yaël Ossowski, deputy director of the DC-based Consumer Choice Center, said a bipartisan endorsement of cannabis decriminalization and legalization before Christmas would unite the nation in a time of bitter partisanship.

“Americans are united in their opposition to the status quo on cannabis policy at the federal level. That’s why now, with so much polarization emanating from Washington, is the perfect time to remind the American people why they elected their representatives in the first place,” said Ossowski.

“Federal cannabis prohibition has created generations of victims, plagued our criminal justice system with injustice, and inflamed a vibrant illegal sector that operates without regulation or concern for safety.

“That’s why we urgently need smart cannabis policy now, one that encourages competition, entrepreneurship, avoids red tape, and eradicates the black market. This is the biggest opportunity for a major policy change we have seen in decades, and consumers and citizens are clamoring for it.

“Consumers should be able to choose their cannabis products safely in a legal and regulated market. That would benefit not only citizens and patients, but also promote economic growth, raise revenue for cash-strapped cities and states, and finally restore justice to the millions who have been locked out of society due to their use of cannabis.

“Nearly a third of the country already has legal cannabis. Now it’s up to Congress to give the rest of the nation that opportunity and help us heal the partisanship divide when we need it most,” said Ossowski.


Earlier this year, the Consumer Choice Center published its Smart Cannabis Policy Primer, available here.

The Consumer Choice Center is the consumer advocacy group supporting lifestyle freedom, innovation, privacy, science, and consumer choice.

We represent consumers in over 100 countries across the globe and closely monitor regulatory trends in Ottawa, Washington, Brussels, Geneva and other hotspots of regulation and inform and activate consumers to fight for #ConsumerChoice. Learn more at consumerchoicecenter.org.

Therapeutic CBD oil doesn’t belong under restrictive Cannabis Act

The federal election is behind us, and all Canadians are probably pretty thankful for that.

That said, in what was arguably Canada’s most irritating, and cynical, election, no one spoke about Canada’s cannabis market. The opposition parties did not take aim at the Liberals for their mistakes, nor did the Liberals really use legalization as a talking point on their legislative success. Now that we have a minority government, it is important that this new government enacts change to make Canada’s cannabis market more open and consumer-friendly.

Much has been said regarding the issues with excise taxes, the federal government’s overly paternalistic marketing and packaging rules, and burdensome production regulations that have handcuffed producers. All of these missteps have hurt the attractiveness of the legal market, and that only benefits those who are selling cannabis illegally.

One mistake made in the Cannabis Act that hasn’t gotten any coverage is the federal government’s failure to differentiate appropriately between THC and CBD.

For those who don’t know, CBD (cannabidiol) is one of the over 100 cannabinoids found in the cannabis plant. On its own, it has a variety of medicinal and wellness uses. CBD can be used for pain in patients with disorders such as fibromyalgia and can be used to prevent seizures for people who suffer from neurological disorders such as epilepsy. It can also be used to treat common issues such as joint pain, inflammation, and act as a sleep aid. Most importantly, CBD is not an intoxicating substance like THC.

Because CBD products are not intoxicating, and have a significantly lower risk profile, they shouldn’t be treated the same as cannabis products with THC. All that would be required to right this wrong would be to remove non-intoxicating CBD products from the Cannabis Act altogether.

Quite simply, any CBD product with a THC concentration of less than 0.3 per cent (the U.S. legal standard) should be treated as a natural health product, and exempt from the rules and regulations of the Cannabis Act.

Removing CBD products from the Cannabis Act would have several immediate benefits for consumers. The first is that it would exempt CBD products from the overly heavy-handed marketing, branding and plain packaging restrictions set out in the Cannabis Act. Having cannabis regulated in the same way as tobacco was a huge mistake, given the differences in risks between products. Regulating cannabis like tobacco was a mistake, but treating CBD products like tobacco is downright comical.

Beyond the chance to peel back federal paternalism, the removal of CBD products from the Cannabis Act would allow for products to brand their desired impact, something that is currently, and irritatingly, illegal for all cannabis products. The current prohibitions are a huge disservice to consumers because they prevent them from being presented with more product information when making purchases. Public policy should encourage informed consumer decisions, not actively prevent them. Removing CBD from the Cannabis Act would allow for these products to free themselves from the silliness of the act’s marketing regulations, which will serve to empower consumers.

In addition to giving consumers more information through appropriate marketing and branding, removing CBD from the act would significantly increase consumer access. As it currently stands, non-intoxicating CBD products are only available via outlets that are licensed to sell cannabis.

This is problematic because for many consumers, the rollout of storefronts has been horrendous, with the government-run online alternatives taking days to deliver product. Removing CBD from the act would, overnight, allow for these products to be sold alongside other natural health products. It would also allow for products to become available in cities and towns that made the misguided decision to ban cannabis retail within their boundaries, as in Ontario. Increasing points of sale for CBD products would increase consumer access, which could help steer people away from the black market alternatives that currently exist.

Whether in co-operation with Andrew Scheer’s Conservatives, or Jagmeet Singh’s NDP, Trudeau needs to make changes to CBD regulations. Removing CBD from the act would be simple, and would actually be in line with concessions Health Canada has already made.

When the new regulations were announced for edibles, extracts and topicals, Health Canada explained that the excise tax would only be applied based on THC level, which means that CBD topicals, edibles or extracts wouldn’t come with any excise tax whatsoever. Removing CBD from the act would be a straightforward and consistent continuation of that regulatory correction. Most importantly, it would be a correction that would benefit consumers nationwide.

Originally published here.


The Consumer Choice Center is the consumer advocacy group supporting lifestyle freedom, innovation, privacy, science, and consumer choice. The main policy areas we focus on are digital, mobility, lifestyle & consumer goods, and health & science.

The CCC represents consumers in over 100 countries across the globe. We closely monitor regulatory trends in Ottawa, Washington, Brussels, Geneva and other hotspots of regulation and inform and activate consumers to fight for #ConsumerChoice. Learn more at 
consumerchoicecenter.org

Politician-Endorsed Social Media Bans Are Dangerous Territory

When it comes to social media, US politicians are rhetoric-heavy on banning policial ads. But that would mean sweeping consequences for all types of civil society groups, community organizations, and small businesses. That affects billions of consumers worldwide.

Considering Sen. Warren is an advocate of such bans, yet decries when they are applied to groups she likes, has she seen the light? Also featuring commentary on Mark Zuckerberg’s latest interview and views on free expression.

Consumer Choice Center Deputy Director Yaël Ossowski interviewed on The Big Talker 107.7FM with host Joe Catenacci.

SUBSCRIBE to the Consumer Choice Center Cast:

RSS: https://omny.fm/shows/ccc/playlists/podcast.rss

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YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCC8NR8ZFV6XphklE36Yncnw

Anti-science narratives must not be allowed to take root

Our ancestors lived through struggles that are hard to imagine by today’s standards. From putting food on the table to tuberculosis and infections (from which most people died in 1915), life 100 years ago was hellish compared to the developed comfort of the modern day.

With an understanding of the value of personal hygiene, tools to root out disease-carrying animals like rats, and the blessing of modern medicine, humanity has saved millions of people from dying prematurely.

For most of human history, one in four infants did not live past the age of one, a phenomenon spread equally throughout cultures. The numbers were equally high in ancient Rome, ancient Greece, the pre-Columbian Americas, medieval Japan, medieval England, the European renaissance and imperial China.

Fortunately, today that number is only one in 30 infants. As economic freedom spreads globally, so does prosperity, and we expect that infant mortality will be equally low in every inhabited continent in the near future.

Despite facing initial hurdles and scepticism towards scientific advancements, the industrial revolution has brought enormous wealth creation and the improvement and expansion of people’s lives. Life expectancy in the United Kingdom has doubled from just over 40 years in 1850 to over 80 years today.

In the UK, 77 per cent of the public agree that science and technology are making our lives healthier, easier and more comfortable. 94 per cent believe that medical research will improve our quality of life over the coming decades. This also applies to the younger generation, of which 80 per cent are happy with modern farming technologies in the area of genetic modification or gene editing.

However, recent years have also marked the appearance of a number of activists who are trying to sour these numbers. And while the public is supportive of scientific innovations, politicians are reacting to a loud minority and regulating away potential progress.

The UK prime minister, Boris Johnson, has sparked some optimism in that regard, promising “a bioscience sector liberated from anti genetic modification rules … we will be the seedbed for the most exciting and most dynamic business investments on the planet.”

This goes beyond the question of agro-tech or artificial intelligence. As trust in the scientific method fades, so do other fundamentals that we believed should be taken for granted.

In the Netherlands, the Knowledge and Advice Centre for Animal Pest warns in major newspapers that new infestations of rats are looming as the country moves to restrict the use of rat poison from 2023. It has already been banned in outdoor areas, but now indoor use will also be outlawed, as reports Dutch broadcaster RTL Nieuws.

The examples of people giving up accepted advancements in living standards get odder by the day. In early August, the Guardian reported on a trend of decreasing soap use. While making a case for bacteria-based substitutes, it also equally presents a case for dropping any detergents whatsoever.

Increasingly, you read headlines like: “No Soap, No Shampoo, No Problem”, or “Soap free for seven years“. In all cases, the soap ditchers are presented as people who are potentially ahead of their time, living the alternative and equally credible lifestyle. But much like people who swear by DIY cleaning products, we should be wary of unforeseen consequences of distrust in science.

The same applies to the example of parabens, increasingly believed to be a harmful addition to health and beauty products, particularly those used by women.

However, Health Canada, the Personal Care Products Council, the FDA, the American Cancer Society and the European Union all find parabens to be safe for use in cosmetics. Unfortunately, a number of people will not accept the findings of numerous studies.

Of course, using hygienic and medical utensils in excess is something to be mindful of because it can pose a danger. An excess of antibiotics can lead to immunity issues and more serious health consequences. However, the notion that all modern medical, pest control and hygiene products must be harmful, independent of quantity and informed use, is a very problematic mindset.

Is it really necessary that previously extinct illnesses return because, in an effort to please a woke sense of anti-corporate, anti-consumerist purity, we end the use of soap and have rats crawling once again through our houses?

What are our leaders and politicians doing to defend the values of science, which has given us the life-changing advances in modern medicine since the 18th century and has ended the unscientific herbalism, or traditional medicine, that lead to the death of millions?

We cannot let these anti-science narratives to take root. Instead, we must encourage informed debate and education to combat this modern-day charlatanism.

Originally published here.


FOR MORE SCIENCE FACTS CLICK HERE.


The Consumer Choice Center is the consumer advocacy group supporting lifestyle freedom, innovation, privacy, science, and consumer choice. The main policy areas we focus on are digital, mobility, lifestyle & consumer goods, and health & science.

The CCC represents consumers in over 100 countries across the globe. We closely monitor regulatory trends in Ottawa, Washington, Brussels, Geneva and other hotspots of regulation and inform and activate consumers to fight for #ConsumerChoice. Learn more at 
consumerchoicecenter.org

Ontario to allow cannabis retailers to sell online and over the phone

Cannabis retailers will soon be able to sell products online or over the phone for in-store pick-up as the Ontario government adopts a “click-and-connect” sales model to expand access to legal marijuana.

Finance Minister Rod Phillips announced the proposed changes in the government’s fall economic statement Wednesday, saying they will decrease waits for cannabis and help combat the black market.

The shift comes as the Progressive Conservative government pledges to lift a cap it imposed on the number of cannabis stores in Ontario.

“All of the provincial jurisdictions are learning and trying to make sure that we take the best approach,” Phillips said. “Our priorities are getting rid of black market cannabis and safety in our communities.”

The government had initially said there would be no cap on the number of retail pot shops after cannabis was legalized. That decision marked a change of course from the previous Liberal government, which created the Ontario Cannabis Store and had planned to tightly control cannabis sales through government-owned stores similar to the LCBO.

But a supply shortage prompted the Tory government last December to cap the initial number of pot retail licences to just 25 so operators would be able to open.

The number of legal pot outlets in Ontario is increasing from 25 to 75 this fall.

The government also said Wednesday it will allow licensed producers to have retail stores on each of their production sites to further increase access.

The Tories had planned to allow that after coming to power in 2018 but did not enact the necessary regulations when the supply shortage caused them to cap the number of retail stores.

The government said Wednesday it will amend legislation and provincial regulations to make the changes but has given no immediate timeline when they will take effect.

Omar Yar Khan, a vice president at strategy firm Hill+Knowlton who advises cannabis sector clients, said the changes will help encourage customers to move from the black market to legal retailers.

“In an era where customers are used to an Amazon Prime experience … anything the government can do to allow these legal markets to reach consumers on channels they’re already on is a step in the right direction,” he said.

Khan said the government needs to uncap the retail market if it wants to continue to fight the illicit market.

“They need to move fast on that, and I think they will,” he said.

One consumer advocacy group praised the move towards “click-and-connect” sales but said the government could have gone further.

“It makes the legal market more consumer-friendly by increasing access and allowing consumers to place orders and pick them up … but it would be that much better if they coupled that with the ability for stores to provide deliver services,” said David Clement, manager of North American affairs for the Consumer Choice Center.

Clement said the changes that allow pot producers to open retail space could create a tourism industry around cannabis.

“If you go to brewery or a distillery, often you can take a tour or talk to the master brewer,” he said. “That on-site selling opportunity has been used to provide consumers with other experiences they otherwise wouldn’t have.”

This report by The Canadian Press was first published on Nov, 6th. I was posted on Yahoo Finance here.


FOR MORE INFORMATION ON SMAT CANNABIS POLICIES CLICK HERE


The Consumer Choice Center is the consumer advocacy group supporting lifestyle freedom, innovation, privacy, science, and consumer choice. The main policy areas we focus on are digital, mobility, lifestyle & consumer goods, and health & science.

The CCC represents consumers in over 100 countries across the globe. We closely monitor regulatory trends in Ottawa, Washington, Brussels, Geneva and other hotspots of regulation and inform and activate consumers to fight for #ConsumerChoice. Learn more at 
consumerchoicecenter.org

Elizabeth Warren Outraged by Social Media Bans She Champions

In a tweet she published on Tuesday, Democratic Presidential Candidate Sen. Elizabeth Warren blasted Twitter’s new ad policy that won’t approve any political advertising.

The problem with Sen. Warren’s outrage is that she herself is a champion of breaking up social media networks as an end goal, and restricting political advertising in the meantime.

Therefore, when such policies are then implemented by social networks as a way to placate political interests and ensure good relationships with lawmakers, shouldn’t that be celebrated?

It seems Warren is upset that the policy affects more people than those she intended.

Here is a good lesson in advocating public policies and regulations that affect real people: they actually affect, and sometimes harm, real people.

Because regulations are rules that impact everyone and considering that these regulations are promoted as part of a candidate’s platform, it doesn’t take much to understand that ordinary groups, charities, and organizations will actually end up getting penalized. Noble intentions are great, but the actual impact is what matters.

This is something we’ve discussed before, and we’d advocate against.

The Consumer Choice Center, the consumer organization I work for, now won’t be allowed to make ads because Twitter’s algorithms consider our content “political advertising,” even though we do not endorse candidates. We discuss ideas and advocate for ideas that promote consumer choice.

Bans on political advertising, as promoted by Warren, are effectively an attempt to regulate speech, albeit in the private sphere. And not just the speech of the fossil fuel companies or political candidates from parties she deplores.

It also affects environmental groups, pro-LGBT groups, political clubs, NGOs, and everyday civil society organizations like ours.

Let that be a warning to those who promote tech regulation that stifles speech. It won’t just be speech that you don’t like that will end up censored, but all political speech. That’s bad for ordinary social media users, and it’s bad for well-meaning organizations who are just trying to spread a message.

For more, check out this Consumer Choice Center poll that shows that 77% of Americans believe government should not interfere with newer tech-enabled businesses where possible to ensure consumers have the greatest possible choice of services.

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