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Use of needless plastic packaging of legal cannabis products shameful

Issue has nothing to do with quality or security

And now for something completely different. For those of you who have been using “illegal” marijuana for some time, you likely find that the newly approved “legal” marijuana is incredibly expensive and of very poor quality (and often not even available).

For those of you who have only experienced legal pot, then you have no frame of reference to make a comparison.  Businesses that offer lousy quality, sky-high prices and then can’t supply the product usually go broke.  But not when the government is around to rewrite all the rules. As usually occurs when a government decides to run a business, the whole “legal” drug business they are running is a complete fiasco.   

However, this article is not written to condemn the government’s quality, price, or service, regardless of how awful it has been. Rather, I want to talk about one item in particular: packaging of the product.

For those of you who have used the legal stuff, you likely were surprised at the huge amount of single-use plastic packaging that surrounds your purchase.  We hear on a daily basis that the world is drowning in plastic, and we need to decrease our consumption, now.  Yet the government product comes wrapped in layer after layer of single-use plastic. 

Now, your government will tell you that all this plastic is to “ensure the highest quality and security,” but this is all verbal diarrhea – don’t believe a word of what they say. This has nothing to do with quality or security, but it does have everything to do with market control and distribution.

The reason for all this plastic packaging is to prevent others from substituting “good” stuff for the “poor” stuff you are buying. Simply put, the government does not want to lose control of the market, or of the product, or of the distribution channels. Every company would love to control its markets, but governments – in order to protect consumers — have written rules making this impossible (unless it comes to a government business, and then, surprise, surprise, they are all in favour of market control). 

If you haven’t already figured out the motivation, let me state it here for you: the government has looked at the staggering profits it makes from the sale of alcoholic beverages and lottery tickets, and determined it wants all the profits available from illegal drugs as well (in fact, they would love to capitalize on food sales, car sales, home sales, and other lucrative ventures, but they just don’t know how to control these markets).  Like usual, this is another case of a government saying something, but doing something entirely the opposite.

Unlike the government, I have no desire to control what you buy or what you pay. But if you are determined to use lousy products at ridiculous prices, please think about the environment and start complaining to your local supplier about the mountain of plastic surrounding the product. If enough people start complaining, maybe even the government might start listening.    

Brian McLeod is a St. Albert resident.