I stopped by ‘Coast Books’, Camp’s non-profit-bookstore because this was the busy time of year for him and that would likely make him late for our usual Thursday beer conference. On my way I passed the local pot dispensary, quaintly called ‘The Healing Shanty’. It loomed empty. I thought those purple Sativa buds would make great stocking stuffers.
Campbell, Camp to all us locals, was just about to close up. “This was one of the better days. If all days would be like today I could actually make a living selling books,” he said.
A minute later we were comfortable seated in our usual corner, even though this time of year there was nothing much to see apart from a few twinkling lights across the dark expanse of water. While Vicky set two foamy mugs in front of us I had to ask what Camp thought about the legalization of pot.
“It’s a weed,” Camp said, “that is why it’s called weed or grass. Should we regulate Dandelion tea? I hear it has a calming effect.”
“Yeah, I get it but the topic is all over the news. Quebec just announced their policy, 15 government outlets, no home growing, zero driving tolerance.“
“Therein lies the problem,” Camp pointed out, “legislations and restrictions do not make for a good business model. Zero tolerance means that if you smoked on the weekend and you get stopped on Wednesday, the THC is still in your blood. Does that mean you can never drive again if you indulge once in a while? Also, the choices, quality and price need to be equal or better then the street merchandise. In other words, the Quebec model is rather flawed.”
“Alberta announced that all their outlets will be private and you can grow up to four plants at home. Saskatchewan and Manitoba are looking at similar models. Not sure what the Minister of pot in B.C. has in mind. All we know is that the feds really want to push this legalization as of July next year.”
“That’s all fine and well but where is the standardization, especially for medical marijuana, who or where is the quality control and who are the distributers? Is it the provincial liquor boards or Big Pharma; maybe Reynolds or Philipp Morris, the cigarette companies?”
“Lets hope not,” I said, “but there will be huge business opportunities and hundreds of jobs from cultivation to distribution. I believe BC will allow ‘craft growers’, sort of like ‘craft beer’ and bigger companies like Aurora Cannabis and Canopy Growth Corp. who by the way have taken over the old Hershey Chocolate factory, are cultivating over a million square feet of pot already. I read that this could be 25 billion dollar bonanza with world wide business opportunities.”
“And all the millions in taxes will go to the government, hopefully to support health care and social services,” Camp said with a hint of sarcasm.
“It will go the same route as gambling and Tabaco profits. First they were designated for sports and culture, now they just go into the big pot. No pun intended,” I said.
“I also read that high profile pot advocates like the prince of pot, Marc Emry and his wife Jodie, will not be eligible to get into the business because of their criminal records – for pot offences. Kind of upside-down-backwards,” I pointed out.
“Yes, and there should be an amnesty for all those kids who were busted for pot and now have a criminal record,” Camp said. “I personally like the Portuguese model. They legalized all drugs 14 years ago and decided to treat drugs as a public health issue and not a criminal one and now hardly anybody dies from an overdose.”
“Here in B.C. we have over 1,400 overdose deaths this year, but the legalisation law will only be about marijuana, nothing else.”
“It’s a bit like legalizing beer but not Rum or Vodka,” Camp said, taking a long swallow from his beer.
“What about the kids or juveniles?” I said. “I believe it’s not a good thing to be a pot consumer when you’re in your puberty. There is research that claims it stunts your motivation and ambition. I know from my own experience in my twenties, when I couldn’t even get up to change the record.”
Camp gave me a raised eyebrow look. “I never really indulged,” he said. “I tried but it gave me a headache. My mind is too overloaded as it is. Tell me, how did an old hippie like you meet a princess like Clare. You must have really pitched a flawless game to win her heart.”
I was a bit taken aback by Camp’s rush to judgement but then I have asked myself the same question. Clare once told me that she instantly liked me because: “You were an open book and spoke your mind,” and then added with a twinkle in her eye, “Now, I wish you would keep some of your opinions to yourself .”
“That’s perfect,” Camp laughed.
“You know there are so many ways to consume pot these day,” I said, trying to get us back on track. “From joints to chilums, hukas and vaporizers, candies and cakes to oil and inhalers.”
“Yes, pretty soon we’ll be able to order marijuana infused beers,” Camp said, “like a Sativa lager or and Indica pale ale.”
“Hey, there will be a niche market for the local breweries.”
“You two seem to have a good time,” Vicky said, standing beside us with her tray smartly on her hip. “Ready for another one?”
“Twist my rubber arm,” Camp grinned.