Month: February 2022

What’s holding back the Electric Vehicle Revolution?

Those flying cars we’ve seen for years in sci-fi films and cartoons? Yeah — still waiting. But we DO have cars that run on electricity, and they’re a big improvement over gasoline for many car buyers and for the environment. Why, then, is it so difficult and expensive to get one? This video seeks to answer that question, but we’ll give you a hint: state and federal government power are being leveraged in a big way.

Nancy Mace: The South Carolina Republican Who Could Deliver Legal Cannabis

By Yaël Ossowski

U.S. Rep. Nancy Mace (left) with former SC Governor and UN Ambassador Nikki Haley (right)

During the Democratic presidential candidates during the 2020 election primary, the topic of legalizing cannabis federally was explicitly endorsed by virtually every candidate in the race, save Joe Biden.

Now that the Democrats have majority control of the House and Senate, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer has pledged to end cannabis prohibition in the United States with his own bill, and some of his House colleagues have said the same.

However, the legislator who may actually deliver on serious cannabis reform won’t be a major Senate figure or even a Democratic heavyweight in either chamber. It may rest on the shoulders of one first-term Republican Congresswoman from South Carolina’s Lowcountry.


U.S. Rep. Nancy Mace, who was propelled “from Waffle House to the US House”, has already proven to be a unique lawmaker among the elite cadre of elected representatives in the nation’s capital.

As a single mother of two children and the first woman to graduate from the Citadel, a military academy, Mace has followed a more independent streak in her short tenure thus far in DC.

As the first Republican woman from South Carolina elected to Congress, she has already made her mark as a supporter of both LGBT and reproductive rights, a skeptic of US military interventions abroad, and was forthright in condemning President Donald Trump after the events of January 6.

Now, she has made waves among House colleagues and cannabis reform advocates for the States Reform Act, one of the most inspiring bills to legalize and regulate cannabis.


The bill would amend the Controlled Substances Act to reschedule cannabis, regulate it like alcohol, would offer judicial reforms to nonviolent offenders charged with marijuana crimes, empower entrepreneurs to enter the cannabis space, and give powers to the states to effectively decide what the regulations on cannabis should be. It would also apply an excise tax of just 3%, the lowest of any cannabis bill that has been introduced into Congress.

This means Mace’s law both respects federalism by giving the ultimate say to states while recognizing the federal prohibition as no longer just. Added to that, it would immediately cease all federal prosecutions and cases for nonviolent defendants in cannabis cases, would remove these charges from nonviolent offenders who were convicted, and would use the revenue to support law enforcement and community investment.

With these elements of federalism, social justice, and entrepreneurship, this bill satisfies political advocates from both the left and the right, and could actually pave the way for a real solution to cannabis prohibition in our country.

The Reason Foundation has a great breakdown of the bill for those interested.


Even though 68% of the country supports legalizing cannabis in a Gallup poll or as high as 91% from a Pew poll, the highest recorded number, there are still many obstacles. As one can imagine, Mace’s freshman GOP status won’t be enough to draw in significant Democratic support from her House colleagues to bring this to a vote, but there have been a great number of other key endorsements.

In January, Amazon — the second-largest company in the country — formally endorsed Mace’s bill. They are most concerned about how drug testing regulations are hampering their ability to hire workers.

The Cannabis Freedom Alliance, made up of advocacy organizations pushing for market-friendly cannabis reforms, (including the Consumer Choice Center), has publicly supported the bill. That also includes the justice advocacy organization of the Weldon Project and the Law Enforcement Action Partnership.

The Consumer Choice Center supports this bill because we believe it offers the most achievable and concrete changes that would introduce smart cannabis policy at the federal level, eliminating the black market, restoring justice, and giving the incentive for creative entrepreneurs to enter the marketplace. That would be a huge benefit to consumers.

When asked, some Democrats have been receptive to the bill, and they have committed to holding hearings, but thus far most of the momentum has been among advocates and in the media.

It was enough to also get the congresswoman recognized on Real Time with Bill Maher, not necessarily the most hospitable television program for Republicans. Maher, a long-time foe of cannabis prohibition, made the point that Democrats have dragged their feet on this issue, and it was time that the GOP would “steal this issue from the Democrats”.

All of that said, this is far from the most popular political issue in Mace’s home state of South Carolina. The head of the SC GOP has blasted Mace’s bill and any attempt to legalize recreational or even medical cannabis. A Republican primarily challenger, Katie Arrington, who lost the seat to Democrat Joe Cunningham in 2018, has already put together a video criticizing Mace’s stance on cannabis. It would seem this issue is sparking more controversy than others in South Carolina Republican politics.

Former Acting White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney, also a former SC congressman, for his part, has written that the SC GOP is “ignoring the will” of voters in continuing to oppose medical cannabis in the Palmetto State.

However it falls, Congresswoman Nancy Mace has given something that all Americans could potentially benefit from. Her States Reform Act, if it can withstand the partisan dance in the nation’s capital, has some of the most positive reforms on cannabis that we have seen in over a decade.

That is something to celebrate, but it is only the beginning if we want to see true cannabis reform in our country.

Yaël Ossowski is deputy director at the Consumer Choice Center.

Colombia’s Uber ban is protectionist and ignores consumers

While Europe is arguing over the employment status of drivers and delivery workers employed in the platform economy sector, Colombia faces an entirely different type of problem. 

After having operated in the country for six years in a legal gray area, Uber was forced out of the Colombian market against the backdrop of repeated resistance from the taxi companies and drivers. As of 2020, Uber had 2.3 million users around the country. 

Because of Uber’s popularity, Colombian taxi drivers, who have to pay extremely high fees for acquiring operating licenses, felt they were put at a disadvantage. They filed a lawsuit targeting Uber. According to an attorney leading the case, other ride-hailing apps present on the market, such as Didi, Beat, Cabify were to be sued next. Scapegoating Uber for its success doesn’t help anyone–but, above all, it hurts consumers.

The court decided that Uber had indeed violated competition rules and was ordered to cease its operations across the country.

Sharing economy platforms are innovative and adaptable – their entrepreneurial spirit is outstanding. Uber found a loophole in the court’s ruling that quickly helped them get back in the market. Renting cars is entirely legal, and Uber came up with a new business model that allowed users to rent a vehicle with a driver. The court decision was soon overturned, but Uber remains illegal. Its drivers ask passengers to take the front seat to avoid unwanted attention from the police, which could result in fines and/or having their vehicles confiscated. 

The availability of ride-hailing apps such as Uber on the Colombian market provides an alternative to traditional taxis. However, both are equally important. Both services have their target audience. Governments should not intervene by banning or creating unfavourable conditions, so drivers fear getting stopped by police and receiving significant fines. Consumers should choose to use their smartphones to arrange a ride or hail a taxi in the street.

Uber solves many problems in the Colombian market which are concerning to consumers. First, it’s safety. In Colombia, taxis have a reputation of generally being unsafe. In 2018, for example, “15% of robberies were perpetrated when the victim was using a transportation service“. Uber and its main competitor in Colombia, Didi, offering additional security features, provide an innovative solution to this problem. 

A dedicated safety support team allows you to get help or report an incident and provides a great overall customer support system. During the ride, the app enables you to share your ride details with trusted people, which adds more to the feeling of security. 

Second, Uber is transparent. When you use Uber, you are aware of the approximate charge before even ordering the ride, and if you have any doubts, the history of each ride is recorded and easily accessible. On the other hand, you don’t have the same transparency when using taxi services. Drivers could take a longer route, pretend not to have any change or round up the fee and ask for more than the meter is showing for the sole reason that “it’s Sunday” like it happened to me on one occasion in Colombia. 

The availability of Uber and other sharing economy services is an important part of Colombia’s attractiveness as a digital nomad hub. Location-independent remote workers who use technology to perform their job rely on sharing economy platforms for their accommodation and transportation needs. As an internationally trusted company, Uber is the preferred mode of transportation because of the aforementioned reasons. Dealing with taxis could be much more complicated for people who don’t speak the local language, but with Uber, you drive with certainty and security. Even if Uber can be more expensive during the rush hours, paying a little extra is worth it for other digital nomads based in Colombia and me.

Consumers’ lives have changed with the emergence of ride-hailing. Banning a preferred service by millions of consumers in the country sets a wrong precedent and puts the future of already established or currently emerging innovative services in jeopardy. Colombia should embrace innovation, encourage the entrepreneurial spirit and facilitate entry barriers for more sharing economy services.  

The electric vehicle industry is booming in Kentucky. Will ownership follow?

Daniel Monroe has let more than 275 people sit behind the wheel of his 2018 Tesla Model 3 and experience what he calls the “transformative effect” of driving on an electromagnetic field. 

“People hit that accelerator and they go, ‘Whoa,’” said Monroe, president of Evolve KY, a group that advocates for electric vehicles in.

Letting people drive his Tesla is one way Monroe hopes to create converts in a state that consistently ranks near the bottom nationally in EV ownership and infrastructure. “My car can’t save the planet staying in my driveway,” he said.

For nearly a decade, Evolve KY has done its part to increase EV ownership in Kentucky, most notably, installing 91 EV chargers around the state. But Kentucky remains one of the least EV-friendly states. 

Last summer, Bumper.com, a vehicle data website, ranked Kentucky 45th in the U.S. for owning an electric vehicle. It said the state is third worst in the nation for charging stations per 100,000 residents and in the bottom five for electric vehicle infrastructure.

“Kentucky is not alone in this regard—many states in the region are lagging in the adoption of EVs and the necessary infrastructure to support them,” said Bumper.com spokesperson Kerry Sherin.

A similar study from the insurance comparison app Jerry placed Kentucky in the bottom three states for owning an EV and the Consumer Choice Center rated EVs as “barely accessible” in Kentucky. 

Read the full article here

What Did We See and Learn From the Protests in Ottawa?

Guest host David Clement welcomes political commentator Rowan Czech-Maurice and Anthony Koch from AK strategies to discuss the convoy that became an emotional outlet for Canadians across the nation.

‘One-size-fits-all pesticide policy hurts farmers and doesn’t help pollinators’ — Why Boulder, Colorado ignores science in push to ban neonicotinoids

It is commonly cited within the beekeeping community that pesticides called neonics can negatively impact honeybees.

An oft-invoked visualization shows a bee landing on a sunflower grown from seeds coated in neonics, triggering its neuroreceptors and leading it to collect nectar in an inefficient and bizarre pattern.

While this is harmful to the foraging bees that are at the end of their lifecycle, this doesn’t mean that this is leading to colony collapse disorder or massive deaths of bees.

What’s more, recent evidence has proven that pesticides such as neonics (short for neonicotinoids) and sulfoxaflor haven’t been as responsible for declines in bee populations after all.

While we understand the urge to protect and promote pollinators such as honeybees in Colorado, Boulder County needs to allow farmers the choice of pesticides…. Banning neonics means that sugar beet farmers must use the pesticide Counter, which is applied at 9.8 pounds per acre compared to 24 grams per acre for neonics.

That’s why, whether at the local level or state level, lawmakers must keep in mind that pesticides are vital for farmers and turn to science, not politics, when it comes to crafting smart policy.

Originally published here

With Rising Food Prices, We Can’t Afford To Worsen the Position of Consumers

The highest inflation in 13 years is hitting American consumers. Since September 2020, overall food prices have risen by 4.6 percent, with eggs, poultry, meat, and fish being the most affected. As consumers scramble to make ends meet in a labor market that remains volatile, it stands to reason that U.S agriculture policy should follow suit.

Over in Europe, the situation for consumers is comparable: with food prices on a 3.4 percent inflation rate, automatic indexation systems in countries that apply them have already affected wages. However, not all European countries benefit from the same luxury, and even those getting a salary boost are still seeing their purchasing power reduced. Meanwhile, European Union lawmakers continue their push for mechanisms set out to make the food system more sustainable.

Sustainability in agriculture means different things depending on who you ask. For the EU, sustainability has long meant a reduction in crop protection tools (i.e. pesticides), even though there is no link between organic pesticides and a more environmentally-friendly food system. Since the early 2010s, the EU has been leading the way in confronting neonicotinoid insecticides, which have been accused of harming honeybee populations. On top of these bans, the EU now seeks to export its policy abroad: The European Commission has announced that food products grown with the help of two specific neonicotinoids will no longer be allowed to be sold in the EU.

There are two ways in which you can analyze this decision: 1) is it scientifically sound? and 2) is it suitable for trade? Uniquely, the European Commission gets it wrong on both ends.

Just this year, Health Canada’s Pest Management Regulatory Agency decided that the two neonicotinoids in question – clothianidin and thiamethoxam – were not harmful to pollinators, reversing its own 2018 decision. The entire conversation on “bee-harming pesticides” needs to get back to the facts, meaning that the European Commission needs to establish that these insecticides harm pollinators and should be transparent about the fact that bee populations are not declining. If it did those things, we would not be looking at increasingly dire situations for farmers needing to protect their crops from pests.

The other issue is that of international trade. This is not a food safety concern, per the idea that the imported foodstuffs are bad for European consumers. It applies European political and environmental conclusions to trade partners who did not reach those conclusions. Decisions like this need to come under close inspection by the WTO and have no place in an international food market based on free exchange. Consumers should have choices, including those choices that the European Commission disapproves of politically.

For consumers, reduced crop protection toolboxes for farmers is bad news. Unable to protect their crops from pests, farmers will see a significant reduction in output, leading to higher prices. This is not just theoretical. Just last year, France voted to cancel its ban on neonicotinoids because it saw a dire situation for its beet farmers, who saw a dramatic production decline. At the brink of needing to import sugar beet from abroad, French lawmakers abandoned the ban for three years.

In 2015, the French far-right National Front campaigned in the European Parliament for a ban on the insecticide sulfoxaflor, often named as an alternative to neonicotinoids. Back then, Marine Le Pen’s party was shot down politically on the issue, only for the French government to outlaw the substance early last year. One of many decisions that led to the crisis of beet farmers last year.

The United States cannot afford to follow the path of Europe. Increasingly, environmental groups have targeted insecticides, leading to a battle in New York between farmers and legislators wishing to outlaw the substances in question. For all the talk of listening to farmers in the push for sustainability, political actors have done very little of it. In fact, the policies seeking to impose a one-size-fits-all solution to farming will reduce agricultural output and increase prices at the time we can afford it the least.

Originally published here

January 2022

While it was a blue month, January has been productive for us at the CCC team. New advisers and fellows, TV show appearances, the release of our highly anticipated Pandemic Resilience Index 2022 – and much more!So let’s see what exactly we’ve been up to!


New advisers joining the CCC

We are thrilled to announce that Lord Wharton and Alexander Kvitashvili have joined us as advisers. We are confident their exceptional expertise will help us elevate the voice of consumers. Read what the new advisers have to say about joining the CCC!

Pandemic Resilience Index 2022

The Pandemic Resilience Index 2022 has a newly crowned champion. After being ranked second on last year’s index, the UAE tops the chart, closely followed by Cyprus. The change in the ranking is largely due to booster vaccine rollout delays. Want to know how your country ranks in terms of the health system’s resilience to Covid-19 and similar crises? 

The CCC team is growing! 

The CCC team is growing and we are excited to welcome Simon Lee as a new policy fellow who will be focusing on Taiwan issues. In the past twenty-five years, government, public institutions, and private enterprises seek his assessments, analyses, and strategic advice on economic and regulatory issues. We’re excited to have him as part of our team and looking forward to seeing all the great work he will undertake for consumer choice. 

Smoking numbers are rising and we know just who to blame for this

Yaël wrote this fire of a blogpost addressing the reasons behind the recent spike in smoking numbers. Science says vaping is 95% less harmful than smoking and a great tool for smokers looking to quit (and we have millions of vapers around the world who can attest to it). Unfortunately,  the public health lobby’s persistent denialism of harm reduction and their stance against vape and other harm-reducing alternatives to cigarettes has been extremely harmful. If we want to reclaim a true public health victory and help smokers quit to give them long and fruitful lives, it is time to cast aside this aversion to the innovations of the market. 


Crop protection products that keep food safe and affordable – and that’s a fact

In his latest article, Bill debunks myths used as arguments by a Belgian environmentalist NGO. A ban on crop protection tools threatens the livelihood of farmers, the food security of European countries, and can further increase food prices that are already affected by inflation. With the rising population we can’t afford a drop in food productivity!

David on Counterpoint but this time as a guest host!

David has made multiple appearances on Counterpoint, discussing pressing issues concerning Canada, and this month he even got to host the TV show. As a guest host, he was joined by economist Ash Navabi and secondstreet.org President Colin Craig for an honest assessment of Canada’s fragile front line healthcare system and whether a private healthcare option might actually help.
That’s a wrap for this month! We’re excited to see what this year has to offer. Make sure to follow us on social media for all the great updates!

December 2021

Happy Holidays!
As we approach the end of 2021, we’d like to recap some of our favorite moments from this busy and successful year in consumer choice activism! 

31 000 members worldwide

The Consumer Choice Center has been around for 4 years now! We have been featured in hundreds of news outlets around the globe and this year alone we had more than 1000 media hits! It seems like our work hasn’t gone unnoticed, as our member count keeps increasing daily and so far we can boast 31,000 members worldwide! We feel honored that you have chosen us to work with you to defend your consumer choice!

CCC Among the Best New Think Tanks

We had a great start to this year. We were announced as one of the best new think tanks by Wharton University of Pennsylvania. The Think Tanks and Civil Societies Program (TTCSP) examines the evolving role and character of public policy research organizations and aims to acknowledge the important contributions and emerging global trends of think tanks worldwide. This recognition has definitely given us even more motivation to keep fighting for a cause so dear to all of us!

Research must go on!

This year has been the most fruitful in terms of new research! Policy notes on Deconstructing the War on Plastics, Dental Insurance, Sharing Economy Index 2021, Pandemic Resilience Index, policy note on Smart Crypto Regulation. These are just a few of the topics we worked on and our research manager Maria tops the chart with 7 publications that she co-authored this year! Make sure to check out the full list of our publications

Yael’s and David’s radio show going strong!

Yael and David started their modest radio show back in 2020 and little did they know they’d soon become hosts of the internationally syndicated radio show, now with more than 100 episodes under their belt. Our weeks have definitely become more enjoyable listening to all the interesting topics they discuss with top experts from various fields! If you haven’t already, make sure to give the radio show a follow on Twitter and be sure to subscribe to the podcast version!

Policy victories

 This spring a new law was proposed in Mexico, that would require a national audiovisual content quota of 15%. We hosted a successful webinar and entire online campaign discussing the negative effects this policy would have on consumers that caught the attention of dozens of local news outlets. Thankfully the law has been delayed and Mexican consumers still have an opportunity to choose what to watch from the vast streaming catalog.  

Up north in Canada, our Northern American Affairs manager David has advocated for the allowance of paid plasma donation and we’re happy to see that Alberta will no longer be depending on foreign import of this valuable resource. Here’s to hoping other provinces follow Alberta’s lead. 

In Europe, the European Parliament recently voted to support reducing the harm caused by smoking. We have published multiple studies on the importance of embracing harm reduction and we’re happy to see that European consumers will not be denied the opportunity to switch to less harmful alternatives to cigarettes.

CCC team keeps growing

The year 2021 has been a year of growth for us. We welcomed 4 new staffers and 8 new fellows onto our very international team! We are excited to watch the team grow and are always on the lookout for new talent!

The ConsEUmer podcast among the best EU podcasts!

The ConsEUmer Podcast, hosted by our senior policy analyst Bill, was named as one of the best European Union Podcasts of 2021. The podcast offers insightful commentary on the hottest EU related topics and features experts and policy makers from various fields. We’re excited to see the podcast receive the recognition it truly deserves!

Staff Retreat in Venice

Working from 4 different continents and multiple timezones, we’re always looking forward to seeing each other in person, outside traditional zoom calls. We wrapped the year 2021 in Venice during our third staff retreat of the year and took time to plan out our strategy for the upcoming year. We have a lot of plans, so keep an eye on our social media channels for the upcoming projects and campaigns!
Thanks for sticking with us throughout this eventful and challenging year. The fight continues and we will surely be on the front lines of defending your freedom to choose.

Christmas Bonus: we created our version of the classic poem from Clement Clarke Moore, “Twas a Night Before Christmas” from 1822 


Chip Shortage Could Worsen With Over-Regulation on PFAS

Last week news broke that the ongoing chip shortage cost the US economy $240 billion in 2021. The shortage heavily impacted the auto industry, costing manufacturers an estimated $210 billion in revenue as cars sat in lots waiting for chips to be installed. In response, Intel announced that they will build a $20 billion chip factory in Ohio, but those efforts may be limited if Congress proceeds with heavy-handed regulations for perfluoroalkyls (PFAS) found in the PFAS Action Act.

The Consumer Choice Center’s North American Affairs Manager David Clement responds: “The PFAS Action Act could seriously jeopardize chip manufacturing in the United States, and ultimately make the chip shortage much worse before it gets better. These chemicals are vital for the production of semiconductors, and if Congress continues down the path of wanting to ban PFAS chip manufacturers will be in a world of trouble.

“Regulating PFAS has to be done from the perspective of clean drinking water, as opposed to declaring all 4,000+ PFAS chemicals hazardous. Ensuring proper production standards to avoid dumping or leakage helps solve the problem of contaminated water, while avoiding the consequences of banning PFAS all together. This is especially important in the context of everyday consumer products that rely on these chemicals in the manufacturing process. If production standards for PFAS are upheld, and enforced, we can tackle the clean drinking water issue while allowing for PFAS to be used where it presents little to no risk to consumers,” said Clement.

“What makes the act even more problematic is that the science isn’t settled in regards to the impact PFAS has on human health, and at what exposure level. Peer-reviewed research in Environmental Research suggests that it might be time for legislators to take a deep breath before over-committing themselves to heavy restrictions and out-right bans. We hope that Congress can follow the science on PFAS,” said Clement.

Scroll to top