Crony-Capitalism in Manitoba

If you search for, “crony-capitalism” you’ll get a fairly straightforward definition: “an economic system characterized by close, mutually beneficial relationships between business leaders and government officials. ”

Wikipedia goes further to describe it , “a market in which businesses thrive not because of risks they take, but rather as a return on cash accumulated via a nexus between a company class and the political class. This can be achieved using state power to crush real competition in handing out permits, government grants, special tax breaks, or other forms of state intervention… Currency is subsequently made not merely by creating a profit in the current market, but through profiteering by “rent seeking” using this monopoly or oligopoly. ”

This clarifies Canada’s “legal” cannabis sector to a tee.

Butif you’ve been following this site, you’ll know that’s what lawful isn’t always lawful. Might doesn’t always make right. There are legislative laws created by government, and there are laws intrinsic to our humanity.

Now, all this could be merely annoying if it wasn’t for the fact that Canada already has a lively cannabis market.

That was the purpose of legalization. Ending prohibition wasn’t supposed to be just for consumers. The real producers of cannabis (peaceful consumers themselves) were to be liberated to emerge from the underground and take part in Canada’s legal, regulated regime instead of getting lumped in with biker gangs and street criminals.

But so it goes in a country where we can’t even a free and reasonable access to the internet thanks to the telecom oligopoly.

So it comes as little surprise that that the Manitoba government has made a deal with licensed producer Delta 9 to supply the Manitoba Liquor and Lotteries bureaucracy with 2.3-million g of cannabis for the next five decades.

At least the cannabis itself will be sold by private retailers. But, alas, using the authorities as the middleman is wasteful and inefficient. If the large LPs will supply Canadians with legal cannabis, they may also open their own retail stores.

But, in the province that’s trying to prohibit home growing, none of this should come as a shock.

The Manitoba government has also made deals with National Access Canada, a medical cannabis clinic expecting to move into the recreational sector. They’ve also made deals with Tokyo Smoke and an unnamed Canadian corporation consisting of 2 First Nations group and an American dispensary chain.

“This removes the need for instant public capital investment in storefronts,” said Manitoba trade minister Blaine Pedersen.

And he’s technically right.

But why not go further and eliminate the need to supply throughout the Liquor and Lotteries bureaucracy?

That, come October 17th no one, including the large LPs, will be pleased about legalization. But, as time moves on, the principles will liberalize and soon we’ll have a free and fair mar–

Let me stop you there.

Liberalization of alcohol has moved in a snail’s pace. There are no private retailers in many parts of the country. Craft manufacturers are under heavy regulations that make it tough to compete with larger multinationals. “Sin” taxes are still current and ultimately unnecessary and rather condescending.

Meanwhile, the principles surrounding tobacco have just gotten more strict.

So I’m cautious  of the guarantee that, somewheredown the line, in some hypothetical future, cannabis will go from crony-capitalist top-down government control to a blossoming free and fair marketplace.

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