Scott Thompson: How legalization may be helping the black market

Cannabis is now legal across Canada, but for those purchasing the product in Ontario, the only legal way to do so is online. Ontario Cannabis Store

Canadians witnessed history this week with the end of prohibition for recreational cannabis. I’m guessing most didn’t notice the difference.

Much like when beer and wine finally made it onto the shelves of Ontario grocery stores — albeit in sparse fashion — the sun set and came up the next morning.

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Amid the hoopla leading up to Oct. 17, the date was viewed as significant around the world as other nations watched the first G20 country to legalize and sell cannabis commercially.

That could be the most important thread in this storyline — and one that may be lost in social discussions.

The business advantages of legal cannabis are massive for Canada, and its industry has the lead ahead of countries and economies still mired in debate.

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The tentacles of the cannabis industry have spawned opportunity for many, hopefully not at the expense of the rest.

READ MORE: Ontario government says pot deliveries will continue in case of Canada Post strike

Which is why, despite now being legal in Canada, not many — if any — in this province are smoking legal weed sold in Ontario tonight.

That is because it hasn’t arrived in the mail yet: Ontario’s legal weed deliveries have an ETA of up to five days.

If Ontarians are consuming today, it’s either from another province or illegal.

If the whole idea behind legalization was safety, why are we making cannabis so hard to get and leaving the black market to flourish as the only alternative?

By making something legal and then making it difficult to obtain by not having outlets, does that not increase black market activity?

That’s like dangling a legal carrot, but the stick and string belong to a criminal.

Scott Thompson is the host of The Scott Thompson Show on Global News Radio 900 CHML.

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