Canada: le cannabis coûte plus cher depuis sa légalisation

H24: “Il n’est pas surprenant que le prix de l’herbe ait augmenté”, affirme David Clement, directeur des affaires nord-américaines du Consumer Choice Centre, un groupe de défense des consommateurs qui fait une veille réglementaire à l’échelle mondiale. Il estime que deux facteurs principaux font augmenter les coûts du cannabis : les taxes et le manque de concurrence.

Les taxes et les frais créent des prix qui sont élevés (…), et puis un manque de concurrence empêche ces prix d’être lentement poussés à la baisse.

“Il en coûte un demi-milliard par an pour appliquer les règles et règlements de la Loi sur le cannabis, afin de générer les revenus nécessaires pour couvrir les frais et les licences qu’ils ont imposés aux producteurs autorisés”, ajoute M. Clement.

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About David Clement

David Clement is the North American Affairs Manager for the Consumer Choice Center and is based out of Oakville, Ontario. David holds a BA in Political Science and a MA in International Relations from Wilfrid Laurier University. Previously, David was the Research Assistant to the Canada Research Chair in International Human Rights. David has been regularly featured on the CBC, Global News, The Toronto Star and various other major Canadian news outlets.

Applications open to enter lottery for 25 retail cannabis licenses in Ontario

One consumer advocacy group criticized the government for its plan to start with just 25 stores.

“The supply issues are real. That is something that consumers are dealing with, the industry is dealing with. … that doesn’t justify a lottery system and it doesn’t justify capping retailers at all,” said David Clement, manager of North American affairs for the Consumer Choice Center.

Clement said he will be watching the results of the lottery closely and was doubtful that all of the companies drawn will be able to meet the quick ramp-up requirements to open their stores by April 1.

“They are faced with heavy fines if they aren’t able to open on time,” he said. “There are some heavy limits and stress testing they are required to meet. Our concerns with some of those criteria is that the province doesn’t treat other businesses that way.”

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About David Clement

David Clement is the North American Affairs Manager for the Consumer Choice Center and is based out of Oakville, Ontario. David holds a BA in Political Science and a MA in International Relations from Wilfrid Laurier University. Previously, David was the Research Assistant to the Canada Research Chair in International Human Rights. David has been regularly featured on the CBC, Global News, The Toronto Star and various other major Canadian news outlets.

Ontario cannabis retail applications are now being accepted

“The supply issues are real. That is something that consumers are dealing with, the industry is dealing with … that doesn’t justify a lottery system and it doesn’t justify capping retailers at all,” said David Clement, manager of North American affairs for the Consumer Choice Center.

Clement said he will be watching the results of the lottery closely and was doubtful that all of the companies drawn will be able to meet the quick ramp-up requirements to open their stores by April 1.

“They are faced with heavy fines if they aren’t able to open on time,” he said. “There are some heavy limits and stress testing they are required to meet. Our concerns with some of those criteria is that the province doesn’t treat other businesses that way.”

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About David Clement

David Clement is the North American Affairs Manager for the Consumer Choice Center and is based out of Oakville, Ontario. David holds a BA in Political Science and a MA in International Relations from Wilfrid Laurier University. Previously, David was the Research Assistant to the Canada Research Chair in International Human Rights. David has been regularly featured on the CBC, Global News, The Toronto Star and various other major Canadian news outlets.

Ontario now accepting applications for cannabis retail licences

THE GLOBE AND MAIL: “The supply issues are real. That is something that consumers are dealing with, the industry is dealing with. … that doesn’t justify a lottery system and it doesn’t justify capping retailers at all,” said David Clement, manager of North American affairs for the Consumer Choice Center.

Mr. Clement said he will be watching the results of the lottery closely and was doubtful that all of the companies drawn will be able to meet the quick ramp-up requirements to open their stores by April 1.

“They are faced with heavy fines if they aren’t able to open on time,” he said. “There are some heavy limits and stress testing they are required to meet. Our concerns with some of those criteria is that the province doesn’t treat other businesses that way.”

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About David Clement

David Clement is the North American Affairs Manager for the Consumer Choice Center and is based out of Oakville, Ontario. David holds a BA in Political Science and a MA in International Relations from Wilfrid Laurier University. Previously, David was the Research Assistant to the Canada Research Chair in International Human Rights. David has been regularly featured on the CBC, Global News, The Toronto Star and various other major Canadian news outlets.

Další zemí, jež bude legalizovat rekreační konopí, je Lucembursko

LEGALIZACE.CZ: Podle prvních tiskových prohlášení lucemburské vlády bude užívání marihuany legální jen pro trvalé obyvatele.

Nastupující vládní koalice v Lucemburku potvrdila, že v zemi zlegalizuje rekreační užívání konopí. Podle dnešního prohlášení spotřebitelské skupiny Consumer Choice Center (CCC) je legalizace součástí koaličního manifestu na příštích pět let. Skupina to komentuje slovy, že „se to mělo stát mnohem dříve.“

Politický analytik CCC Bill Wirtz k tomu řekl: „Lucembursko bude první zemí EU, kde bude konopí skutečně legalizováno, když v České republice, Portugalsku či Nizozemí je buď tolerováno, nebo jen dekriminalizováno. To vyšle k ostatním zemím EU silný signál. Ledy se lámou.“

CCC soudí podle prvních tiskových prohlášení vlády, že užívání marihuany bude legální jen pro osoby s trvalým pobytem v Lucembursku.

„To by byl špatný tah, protože by nebyl jen diskriminační, ale také by mohl zvětšit černý trh,“ prohlásil Wirtz. „My si myslíme, že konopí by mělo být volně prodejné všem dospělým bez ohledu na státní příslušnost. Tak vznikne v zemi nová oblast turistického průmyslu. A hlavně: není důvod zacházet s konopím přísněji než s alkoholem. Pokud si plnoletí cizinci mohou v Lucembursku kupovat alkohol, měli by také moci kupovat konopí.“

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About Bill Wirtz

Bill Wirtz is policy analyst for the Consumer Choice Center, based in Brussels, Belgium. Originally from Luxembourg, his articles have appeared across the world in English, French, German, and Luxembourgish. He is Editor-in-Chief of Speak Freely, the blog of European Students for Liberty, a contributing editor for the Freedom Today Network and a regular contributor for the Foundation for Economic Education (FEE). He blogs regularly on his website in four languages.

Consumers are paying for government’s failure to understand cannabis

David Clement is the North American affairs manager with the Consumer Choice Center

A selection of marijuana ordered from the Ontario Cannabis Store, which has become Canadas largest online pot retailer since recreational use of the mind-altering drug was legalized in October is viewed on Nov. 18, 2018 in Canada.MICHEL COMTE/AFP/GETTY IMAGES

Cannabis is a unique and versatile product. Unfortunately, regulators at all levels fail to really understand how cannabis is used, which has led to numerous policy mishaps. Simply put, federal, provincial and municipal legislators have made many mistakes when it comes to cannabis regulations. These mistakes have hindered consumers when it comes to price, supply and access.

Consumers nationwide are faced with prices that are much higher than what is otherwise available in the black market. Prices are inflated from a variety of different sources, which include: the 10 per cent federal excise tax, the 2.3 per cent federal revenue tax, various compliance and security fees, and additional sin taxes such as Manitoba’s “social responsibility fee.” The ever growing tax burden, which is ultimately paid for by consumers, is rightly raising some eyebrows with those who are wanting to purchase cannabis legally.

When it comes to supply, retailers across the country face chronic shortages. Stores, whether online or bricks and mortar, often fail to have their full product range available at all times. These shortages come from the onerous regulations that are applied to the licensed producers (LPs) who grow cannabis. Because of old Harper-era and pharma grade regulations, LPs essentially grow cannabis inside of a bank vault, which limits their ability to scale up production and get product to market.

Lastly is access. Community opt-outs and limited storefronts have created a toxic policy mixture that has ensured the black market thrives. Quebec government stores are closing on certain days, while Alberta has stopped issuing retail licences.

Ontario, which was slated to have an uncapped amount of retailers, has announced only 25 licences will be granted before April, 2019. Not having quick access to legal cannabis understandably pushes consumers back to the black market. Access problems, along with the pricing and supply issues, have played a role in keeping the black market alive. So much so that cannabis is still purchased illegally by 35 per cent of consumers.

The issues regarding cannabis regulations are easy to see, but the reason for such a disastrous policy mix isn’t quite as obvious. All of these issues come from legislators and government officials who fail to understand the versatility of cannabis as a consumer product. Cannabis isn’t just a recreational product, it is a medical product and a wellness product.

Medically, cannabis is known to be useful for treating a variety of illnesses that range from cancer, MS, ALS and fibromyalgia. As a wellness product, cannabis can be used to aid in alleviating headaches, stress and sleep problems. Lastly, cannabis is a recreational product, one that is used for its euphoric high, to enhance experiences or to calm you down.

Inflated prices occur because regulators see cannabis as a purely recreational product, one the government can use to generate exorbitant revenues. The pricing on cannabis resembles how the government views alcohol.

The issue with this view is it completely ignores that cannabis is also a wellness product and a medical product. Because the government has failed to understand this, patients are now paying excise taxes on their prescribed medicine. This is incredibly cruel for patients, many who are either on disability or fixed income.

Supply shortages have occurred in part because the federal government treats LPs as if they are only growing a medical product as opposed to a producer of a recreational product such as alcohol, which has handcuffed the industry.

For access, consumers face community opt-outs, monopoly online retail options and capped storefronts. These regulations have the stain of prohibition all over them. They approach cannabis with the mentality that cannabis is a truly dangerous, pharmaceutical grade product that needs to be heavily regulated.

For these access issues, regulators have acted as if cannabis is a hard drug. These access questions are insanely hypocritical if we look at access consumers have for other recreational or wellness products. For example, wellness products such as over-the-counter pain medications and allergy pills are readily available at all grocery stores.

Alcohol, a recreational product, is available via government-run stores, private retailers, grocery stores and even convenience stores, depending on the province. Because legislators have this faulty mindset, that cannabis is a pharma-grade drug deserving of tight access limits, consumer choice is persistently infringed upon.

Cannabis is a versatile product, one that has a variety of uses. Legislators at all levels have horse blinders on when it comes to how this legal product should be regulated. Failing to see cannabis as a multiuse consumer product has led to a series of mistakes that should have been avoided.

Originally published at https://www.theglobeandmail.com/business/commentary/article-consumers-are-paying-for-governments-failure-to-understand-cannabis/

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About David Clement

David Clement is the North American Affairs Manager for the Consumer Choice Center and is based out of Oakville, Ontario. David holds a BA in Political Science and a MA in International Relations from Wilfrid Laurier University. Previously, David was the Research Assistant to the Canada Research Chair in International Human Rights. David has been regularly featured on the CBC, Global News, The Toronto Star and various other major Canadian news outlets.

Experts argue allowing municipalities to opt out of cannabis shops could boost black market

THE GLOBE AND MAIL: That sentiment was echoed by David Clement, manager of North American affairs for the Consumer Choice Center.

“Community opt-outs and limited storefronts is a toxic combination which pretty much guarantees that the black market will thrive,” he said. “Capping retail outlets and having entire communities opt out makes the legal market in Ontario far less accessible.”

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About David Clement

David Clement is the North American Affairs Manager for the Consumer Choice Center and is based out of Oakville, Ontario. David holds a BA in Political Science and a MA in International Relations from Wilfrid Laurier University. Previously, David was the Research Assistant to the Canada Research Chair in International Human Rights. David has been regularly featured on the CBC, Global News, The Toronto Star and various other major Canadian news outlets.

Overcoming pot retail anxiety: 5 reasons for municipalities opt-in

TORONTO SUN: On that point, an interesting piece was published last August by David Clement of the Consumer Choice Center. He argued that the opt-out provision in the province’s cannabis plan would give “prohibition a new face, that being local city councillors.” His opinion included that banning retail sales “won’t mean that consumers won’t be acquiring cannabis. All it means is that consumers will either continue to purchase it illegally, as they do now, or will have to buy it from a neighbouring town.”

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About David Clement

David Clement is the North American Affairs Manager for the Consumer Choice Center and is based out of Oakville, Ontario.

David holds a BA in Political Science and a MA in International Relations from Wilfrid Laurier University. Previously, David was the Research Assistant to the Canada Research Chair in International Human Rights.

David has been regularly featured on the CBC, Global News, The Toronto Star and various other major Canadian news outlets.

Eighty-Five years since prohibition, but have we learnt anything?

This Wednesday was a special day. In the Netherlands, Dutch children celebrated the coming of Sinterklaas (along with his controversial helper Zwarte Piet). Walt Disney would have celebrated his 117th birthday. It was also world soil day, apparently. But the 5th of December 2018 also marked a particularly special anniversary: the end of prohibition in the United States. Eighty-five years ago, the Twenty First Amendment to the US Constitution was ratified, officially repealing the Eighteenth Amendment banning the sale and transportation of intoxicating liquors. After thirteen years, American citizens could at last enjoy a drink, legally.

Today, prohibition is widely regarded as a colossal failure. Driven by pressure from the Temperance Movement, who saw alcohol and the drunkenness it causes as detriments to society. Alcohol was blamed for crime, disorder, and poverty. A ban on booze, it was seemingly thought, would protect drinkers from themselves, and society from their behaviour while under-the-influence.

Of course, this wasn’t the case. Rather than eradicating the American market for booze, it simply drove the import, production, and sale of drinks into the hands of bootleggers and mafiosos.

In fact, the black market for booze during the prohibition era was so vastly profitable that some have credited the ban with creating the modern mafia. The total control over the market for alcohol provided a great incentive for gangs, such as those that came with the mass immigration from Italy in the late-1900s, to transform from small-time racketeers to firm-like, hierarchical organisations.

While these gangs certainly filled a gap with their black-market liquor and speakeasies, consumers and the rest of society undoubtedly suffered. Gangs, famously, preferred to treat friendly competition with a pair of concrete shoes than a new marketing campaign. Meanwhile, those indulging in illegal booze received no protection from the state, and no guarantee of what exactly went into their drink. While gangsters made millions, everyone else had to pay the price.

So, the eighty-five year anniversary of the death of such a disastrous attempt at social engineering undoubtedly warrants celebrating (perhaps with a drink?). But have we actually learned from the experience?

Not fully. In fact, you could read through the first half of this article, replace ‘booze’ with ‘cocaine’ or ‘cannabis’, and ‘Mafia’ with ‘Cartel’, and you’d have a pretty accurate description of the ongoing war on drugs.

Just like the Americans of the 1920s who fancied a beer, someone wanting to indulge in something harder today is left fully at the whims of organised criminals, and receives no help from the state. According to the drug policy alliance, almost 1.4 million people in the US have been arrested solely on possession charges.

Moreover, consumers of drugs today often have no guarantee that what they’re taking is actually what they paid for. While cities like Amsterdam now offer anonymous testing of substances, most people have no way if they just snorted a line of coke or laundry detergent.

Meanwhile, those selling on the black market enjoy participation in a global industry worth an estimated half a trillion dollars. While cartels and drug runners line their pockets, however, the communities around them have to deal with the violence and murder that comes whenever markets become criminal.

It’s probably wise to put in a disclaimer here: I am not advocating the use of hard drugs. Rather, I am advocating to follow the path of least harm. Just as the prohibition of alcohol created the mafia, bringing with it violence, more-dangerous products, and general suffering, the war on drugs, too, has done nothing to protect users or prevent crime; quite the opposite, in fact.

Eighty-five years ago the US government learned its lesson, and took the path of least harm. In doing so, they allowed users access to help and support and deprived criminals of their monopoly. While we’re starting to make progress, as countries like Canada, Luxembourg, as well as certain US states begin to decriminalise cannabis, there’s lots more work to be done before all the suffering brought on by the war on drugs can be ended.

Originally published at https://thebroadonline.com/eighty-five-years-since-prohibition-but-have-we-learnt-anything/

Green. Party!

RTL TODAY: Consumer group Consumer Choice Center (CCC) called the move to legalise cannabis/marijuana “overdue”.

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About Bill Wirtz

Bill Wirtz is policy analyst for the Consumer Choice Center, based in Brussels, Belgium.

Originally from Luxembourg, his articles have appeared across the world in English, French, German, and Luxembourgish.

He is Editor-in-Chief of Speak Freely, the blog of European Students for Liberty, a contributing editor for the Freedom Today Network and a regular contributor for the Foundation for Economic Education (FEE).

He blogs regularly on his website in four languages.