High rollers jump on pot bandwagon

— by Bruce Mason —

Former Canadian PM Brian Mulroney (pictured with Trudeau, above) jumped into legalized (sort-of) recreational weed with both Gucci loafers. He is among many former top politicians and police officers elbowing their way onto the ganga bandwagon. “It’s the way to go,” Mulroney opined with hypocritical zeal. “The way” for whom he did not elucidate, and didn’t really need to.

On October 17, as Bill C-45 – The Cannabis Act – became law, Mulroney was in the spotlight, making the talking-head, mainstream media rounds. Breaking news: he is now on the board of directors of Acreage Holdings – a New York-based marijuana company – alongside old pals John Boehner, former US Speaker of the House and William Weld, former governor of Massachusetts.

‘Lyin’ Brian’s pro-pot stance pivot requires a full and thorough body search for more than the half-million Canadians who have been busted for possession. They want an apology and their record expunged for a relatively harmless and victim-less crime. And for the hundreds of dispensaries that sprang up across Canada to get a foot in the door of Trudeau’s pot promises, now the domain of Big Pharma, Big Ag and Big Banks. And for the rapidly growing lucrative medicinal, health and extraction markets. And for innumerable grass entrepreneurs and tax-grabbing governments, worldwide. And for insight into how and why life is a bad-trip for so many, all over our endangered planet.

One wonders if Mulroney or other high-rollers will be stopped at the US border on their way to the White House or some grow-op board room. That’s a risk hundreds of thousand of other Canadians face.

Also in the line-up of newly minted marijuana evangelicals going for the green: Julian Fantino, former hard-line TO police chief and Harper’s veteran affairs minister. In stark contrast to Mulroney’s unsolicited “way to go” was Fantino’s admonishment in 2004, “We can’t go that way,” when asked if pot legalization would cut down on crime. “I guess we can legalize murder too and then we won’t have a murder case,” he explained, shortly after a Senate report recommended legalization.

More recently, our Julian confided that legal pot was “very big money” and that he was offered a chunk of it. “I would never do it,” insisted Fantino, now chairman of the board for Aleafia, a medicinal marijuana company.

Among many other strange Mary-Jane bedfellows is Liberal Herb Dhaliwal, who served in Jean Chrétien’s cabinet and founded cannabis producer National Green Biomed Ltd., based in the Fraser Valley.

The list of new corporate pot dealers goes on and on, up and up. Some former Health Canada officials, who helped draft the legal cannabis rules at the very institution responsible for granting production permits, are consultants. Ditto for the RCMP. In addition, major investors include former ministers or advisors, now labouring, lobbying and dealing for corporate pot. Turning over a new leaf in a once-in-a-lifetime emergence of a massively lucrative industry with global reach and ancillary markets worth untold billions. Monsanto, Loblaw and other corporate giants are signing supply contracts in drooling anticipation.

As they say, fish rot from the head. And Mulroney is the big catch. His government introduced legislation to keep marijuana in the same legal category as heroin in the early ‘90s. But his thinking has “evolved.”

“It takes a while for certain people and certain things to catch up with reality… great social advances come in waves and this is one that I think will have Canada showing the way for the rest of the world,” said Mulroney, who’s been dubbed, “The jaw that walks like a man.”

“You know, if you had told me… when I was in office 30 years ago that same-sex marriage would be on everybody’s radar screen today, I would have said, ‘That’s a bit of a stretch.’ But it is and that’s the way social advance occurs,” explained the most reviled prime minister in Canadian history.

Certain people? Social advances? Differing sexual orientation has been around since the dawn of humanity. Apparently, Louis Hébert sowed the first cannabis seeds in 1606, in what would later become Canada. Pot has been with us ever since – a massive underground black market that Stats Canada is finally trying to quantify on their StatsCannabis website to factor into Canada’s economy.

Mulroney’s mind-blowing, jaw-dropping conclusion: “In the fullness of time, all of these important matters become accepted.”

We have only 10 years of “fullness” to seriously act on important matters, such as climate disruption and obscene inequity and we can no longer wait for so-called leaders and greedy elites, lagging behind, addicted to money and power.

Mulroney once said, “I ain’t no shrinking violet” and “You cannot name a Canadian prime minister who has done as many significant things as I did because there are none.” Trump-like, for good reason. Mulroney, a Palm Beach neighbour of the US president, made 1,337 political appointments of friends and supporters and out-trumped even The Donald with single digit approval ratings.

The Justin-ification for Bill C-45 is tax revenue, keeping pot out of the hands of children and profits away from the likes of the Hells Angels. But more corporate pot sounds about as dumb and doomed as fighting climate change with more fossil fuels. This is not about getting high, or well. It is all about a few people getting richer and more powerful.

The Canadian Medical Association Journal warns of a “national, uncontrolled experiment in which the profits of cannabis producers and tax revenues are squarely pitched against the health of Canadians.”

BC’s Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General Mike Farnworth has news for the John and Jane Doe “Mom and Pop” pot shops down the street that invested their savings, filled out forms and are now waiting for a licence: “Community enforcement units will go into unlicensed cannabis stores without a warrant and levy administrative penalties, fines, to twice the value of the product that has been seized.”

As pot-smoking comedian George Carlin once observed, “They have a club and guess what? You and I aren’t in it.” The more things change, the more they stay the same. Canada’s patchwork pot laws are too little, too late, too corrupt and hypocritical. Roll us another one, Brian.

Please email pot thoughts to brucemason@shaw.ca

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