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Make Downtown Great Again – Cannabis | Weed | Marijuana



How can we make downtown great again? In recent years there has been a significant increase in the number of empty storefronts in many downtown areas.

Many North American cities have their fair share of empty skyscrapers. Even in small towns, main streets have become desolate wastelands, with, in some areas, crumbling buildings and overgrown weeds choking the pavement.

Our cities have become skeletons: empty storefronts and abandoned buildings like the bones of a long-dead beast. Many of us live in urban wastelands. Littered with the remnants of a bygone era. A hollowed-out downtown a haunting reminder of better days.

But why and how have our downtowns become like this? And what can we do to reverse it? What can we do to make downtown great again?

9 Reasons Your Downtown Sucks 

To make downtown great again, we have to understand what went wrong. Why are there so many empty downtown storefronts in North American towns and cities? Here are nine possible reasons:

  1. Competition from e-commerce: The rise of online shopping has led to decreased foot traffic and sales at brick-and-mortar stores.
  2. Changing consumer behaviour: Consumers are increasingly seeking experiences over material goods and are spending more money on services such as travel and dining out.
  3. Economic downturns: Economic recessions can decrease consumer spending, causing retailers to struggle and potentially close their doors.
  4. Increase in rents: A rise in commercial rents, particularly in desirable downtown areas, can make it difficult for small businesses to afford to maintain a physical presence.
  5. Shift towards experiential retail: The trend towards experiential retail, which includes entertainment and hospitality offerings, has led to a shift in the types of businesses that occupy storefronts, causing some spaces to become vacant.
  6. Urbanization and migration patterns: Urbanization and changing migration patterns can lead to shifts in demographics and consumer spending patterns, affecting the viability of certain retail businesses in certain areas.
  7. Technological advancements: Technology advancements have led to increased automation and efficiency in the retail industry, reducing the need for physical storefronts and potentially leading to closures.
  8. Government policies: Government policies and regulations, such as property taxes and zoning laws, can impact the retail sector and contribute to the number of empty storefronts.
  9. BlackRock and other large institutional investors have been acquiring significant amounts of real estate. Whether they’ve acquired commercial space in your downtown will depend on where you live. But if not BlackRock, then some other ESG-touting hedge fund.

BlackRock Owns Your Neighbourhood 

Make Downtown Great Again

If the idea of a multi-billion dollar hedge fund buying real estate and renting it out to the masses sounds dystopian, it’s because it is.

BlackRock is one of the largest investment companies in the world, managing over $10 trillion in assets. They have partnerships and investments with several large corporations. Including but not limited to:

  1. Alphabet (Google)
  2. Amazon
  3. Microsoft
  4. Berkshire Hathaway
  5. Apple
  6. Facebook
  7. Johnson & Johnson
  8. JPMorgan Chase
  9. Procter & Gamble
  10. Verizon
  11. Visa
  12. Walt Disney
  13. Walmart

Whether residential or commercial, BlackRock and other large institutional investors have been acquiring significant amounts of real estate. There is nothing wrong with buying and selling property in a free market economy.

But this is not a free market economy. And neither BlackRock nor the companies listed above have come to their fortunes in a free, competitive system.

BlackRock has been adamant about “resetting” capitalism to further its goals. Which is, of course, an increase in their power and wealth under the guise of helping humanity and the climate.

This begs the question – if BlackRock is a fraudulent, crony-capitalist investment firm, do they have property rights over these empty downtown storefronts?

From a legal standpoint – yes, they do. But what’s legal isn’t always what’s lawful. Just ask North America’s Indigenous population forced into government-run boarding schools.

Which brings us to our solution: Land Back. 

Make Downtown Great Again With the “Land Back” movement?

Make Downtown Great Again With the "Land Back" movement?

Some Indigenous people call for returning their traditional lands that European settlers took through colonization and displacement. This is known as the “Land Back” movement.

The movement seeks to empower Indigenous communities and restore their sovereignty over their lands and resources. It also focuses on the protection of sacred sites, the preservation of traditional ways of life, and the restoration of traditional governance structures.

Essentially, it is the resurgence of Indigenous culture and identity.

“You have to quit crying on the shoulder of the guy that stole your land,” Arthur Manuel used to say, one of the intellectual leaders of this movement.

Do you want to make downtown great again? Have the Land Back movement occupy BlackRock-owned real estate to assert their sovereignty over their traditional lands.

Of course, the Land Back movement is diverse, with different goals and tactics. Not all groups or individuals within the movement may agree with my approach here.

But hear me out.

Make Downtown Great Again: Is Occupying Land Justified? 

Make Downtown Great Again: Is Occupying Land Justified? 

Once in a while, an Indigenous-led demonstration will shut down roads, highways or infrastructure to make their voices and concerns heard.

(Although, in some cases, the protestors aren’t Indigenous but “woke” university students who will contradict what the local Indigenous leadership is saying). 

Nevertheless, whenever these demonstrations occur, they often expose underlying biases. For example, there is a movement to build homes to stop the Trans Mountain pipeline from crossing into Secwepemc Territory.

Want the RCMP to destroy those homes but support the Freedom Convoy’s occupation of Ottawa? Check your premises. This is why it’s essential to read Rothbard.

Murray Rothbard was a prominent anarchist and proponent of the “Austrian” school of economics. According to his philosophy, occupying space and homesteading it is justified if the State currently owns it. 

Rothbard believed that the State’s land ownership was illegitimate and that individuals should have the right to homestead unowned or abandoned land and property.

In Rothbard’s view, the State has no legitimate claim to property. But what about private property that results from “public-private partnerships” like BlackRock’s relationship with various North American governments?

(Or how private actors with the World Economic Forum have “penetrated” governments to advance their agenda).

Although he didn’t specifically write about occupying land owned by private corporations working in collaboration with the State, we can infer from his principles what his views might be. 

That is, occupying land owned by a public-private partnership is legitimate if the person (or business) obtained the land through coercion or by violating property rights.

What About Legitimate Homesteaders?

As mentioned, there is a diversity of thought and belief within the Land Back movement. Rothbard says if you obtain the land through coercion, then it’s not really private property. 

Ergo, BlackRock owns nothing.

However, the issue of land ownership and the treatment of Native Americans by European colonizers is complex and controversial. From a Rothbardian perspective, the theft of land from Native Americans would be considered a violation of property rights and an illegitimate form of acquisition.

Obviously, the historical treatment of Native Americans and the acquisition of their land by European settlers was often a violent process that was not always consistent with property rights and homesteading principles. 

This results in ongoing disputes and tensions over land ownership and compensation in the present day. So what’s the solution? Well, in this context, we’re trying to make downtown great again, not resolve centuries of a complex conflict.

With that in mind, Ludwig von Mises writes,

Ownership in the market economy is no longer linked up with the remote origin of private property. Those events in a far-distant past, hidden in the darkness of primitive mankind’s history, are no longer of any concern for our day. For in an unhampered market society the consumers daily decide anew who should own and how much he should own. The consumers allot control of the means of production to those who know how to use them best for the satisfaction of the most urgent wants of the consumers. Only in a legal and formalistic sense can the owners be considered the successors of appropriators and expropriators. In fact, they are mandataries of the consumers, bound by the operation of the market to serve the consumers best. Under capitalism, private property is the consummation of the self-determination of the consumers.

Make Downtown Great Again

Make Downtown Great Again

There is a belief among some Indigenous activists that they should “Shut Down Canada.” As in, block roads and critical infrastructure until the government meet their demands.

I have a better idea. Occupy empty storefronts that global hedge funds and developers own.

But this isn’t an occupation like a protest. This is more like the 4/20 Cannabis Farmer’s Protest in Vancouver. The demonstration is that Canada’s cannabis consumers can safely buy and sell weed without Big Brother watching over their shoulders.

Likewise, Indigenous people can occupy BlackRock-owned downtown empty spaces. They can “Shut Down Canada” by refusing to accept the authority of the Crown.

Imagine a small town where Indigenous-owned businesses now occupy the once-empty storefronts. Think of the possibilities:

  1. Cannabis shops (these already exist)
  2. Coffee shop
  3. Bakery
  4. Juice and smoothie bar
  5. Cannabis consumption lounge
  6. Yoga Studio
  7. Art gallery
  8. Bookstore
  9. Music store
  10. Barbershop
  11. Spa
  12. Wellness center
  13. Co-working space
  14. Community gathering space
  15. Gaming lounge
  16. Local food market
  17. Bike shop
  18. Fitness center
  19. Recording studio
  20. Dance studio

The “Land Back” movement can “Shut Down Canada” by enticing Canadians to join them. Canadians fed up with the fascist system (for that’s what “public-private partnerships” are) can become honorary members of the local Indigenous tribe. Then they can take part in these low-cost, locally-sourced business ideas that encourage local artisan culture and environmental preservation.

They can trade in a currency that isn’t a fraudulent debt instrument. They can pay local taxes to a local Indigenous tribe instead of the centralized corporate State. 

Whether your background is Native American, European, or whatever – we are not enemies. The enemy is the State and its minions, bootlickers, and enforcers.

If we are on the unceded territory of Indigenous people, then the Crown has no legitimate claim of authority. 

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Is Cannabis Addiction a Treatable Medical Condition? – Cannabis | Weed | Marijuana




Is cannabis addiction a treatable medical condition? According to one doctor, “cannabis addiction is a real and treatable medical condition.”

She claims the “cannabis legalization movement” has successfully pushed back against this narrative due to the drug war.

Fortunately, Dr. Salwan is not one of these old-school drug warriors. She knows cannabis doesn’t turn people into criminals and that cannabis prohibition has led to the mass incarceration of peaceful (mostly black) Americans.

Dr. Salwan represents the new school of drug warriors. The kind that promotes more opioids to wean people off opioids. That labels drug use as a “treatable medical condition” rather than an activity.

To her credit, Dr. Salwan recommends cognitive behavioural therapy as a solution to “cannabis use disorder” since that’s where the evidence leads her. (But not without mentioning the “promising” FDA medication that will “reduce cannabis cravings.”)

However, Dr. Salwan is on the education faculty for the American Society of Addiction Medicine. In other words – it is tough for Dr. Salwan to see substance use as anything but a medical condition.

What is Cannabis Use Disorder (CUD)?

Is Cannabis Addiction a Treatable Medical Condition?

Is cannabis addiction a treatable medical condition? What is a “cannabis addiction,” anyway? “Cannabis use disorder” (CUD) is a topic we’ve covered before. It’s a myth that refuses to die.

The belief that outside forces determine our thoughts, behaviours, and actions is only becoming more prominent in the culture where neuroscientific theories of consciousness are accepted as “science” despite their philosophical shallowness.

But let’s get to the crux of Dr. Salwan’s argument. “To shake the collective disavowal of cannabis addiction,” she writes, “It helps to understand the clinical paradigm of all drug addictions, or substance use disorders (SUDs).”

So, whether we’re talking about cannabis, alcohol, or opioids, the hallmarks of SUD are always the same, categorized as the three Cs.

Craving: A strong desire to use the substance 

Consequences: Negative consequences of using the substance 

Control: A loss of control when consuming the substance (or in the pursuit of). 

Other residual SUD “symptoms” include developing a tolerance and experiencing withdrawals. But by this definition, nearly every American suffers from caffeine use disorder and a refined sugar addiction.

Is Cannabis Addiction a Treatable Medical Condition?

Is Cannabis Addiction a Treatable Medical Condition?

Of course, “cravings” are just thoughts. Perhaps you’ve “craved” ex-partners when visiting areas that remind you of them. It’s a common human experience. You don’t have to associate your stream of consciousness with your ego and attach yourself to each and every thought.

Especially if you’re breaking a long-term drug habit (or trying to get over an ex).

Likewise, determining whether the consequences of your actions are negative is up to you. So-called “addiction experts” are supposed to be neutral, value-free scientists.

You could drink a case of beer every night. Destroy your liver, your marriage, turn your kids against you, lose your job and house, and end up living on the street. These all sound like negative consequences of drinking.

But if you frame the experience as positive, then who the hell are “addiction experts” to tell you otherwise? It may seem irrational to us, but many prefer to live on the street and use drugs like fentanyl.  

This fact of life is lost on many advocates of taxpayer-funded supply of “addiction medicine.” They want to dehumanize someone’s choices and consider them “mentally ill” because they don’t conform to specific social values.

I find it hard to believe that the left-wing advocates making this argument have ever read (or understood) Foucault. Although they’ll claim him as one of their own.

As for the loss of control – despite the persistence of this myth, it remains just that. A myth. No research worthy of the label “science” supports a loss of control.

Some Real Science to Drive Home the Fact 

Is Cannabis Addiction a Treatable Medical Condition?
Gordon Alan Marlatt. 1941 – 2011

G. Alan Marlatt was an American-Canadian clinical psychologist and researcher in the field of addictive behaviours.

One of his most well-known studies helps answer whether “cannabis addiction” is a treatable medical condition.

Dr. Marlatt took a group of heavy drinkers who qualified as having alcohol use disorder. He separated them into two groups in two separate rooms.

He gave one group cocktails without alcohol. But the cocktails tasted as if they contained booze. He told this group the cocktail did have alcohol in it. Obviously, the participants reported cravings for more, kept drinking, and some even began behaving intoxicated.

He gave the other group cocktails that contained alcohol. But the drinks didn’t taste like alcohol, and he told the group there wasn’t any in the beverage. This group did not report cravings for more and did not binge drink to excess.

Others have replicated Dr. Marlatt’s study. The 3 C’s of addiction are not scientific concepts. They are a belief system of “public health” masquerading as scientific knowledge. 

Contradictions in Dr. Salwan’s Article

Dr. Salwan doesn’t seem aware of the contradictions in her article. For example, she writes it’s “heartening that the prevalence of cannabis addiction among U.S. adults remained below 2 percent from 2002 to 2017, even as cannabis use increased from 10 to 15 percent.”

But how does that make sense? Especially since the THC potency has increased. If the drug itself is causing addiction, shouldn’t higher use rates also increase addiction rates?

Dr. Salwan solves this issue by recognizing that cannabis has – more or less – been destigmatized. If you’re not losing your job or falling behind on the bills, who cares if you engage in wake-n-bakes or smoke weed every night after work? 

Destigmatization, says Dr. Salwan, is a “desired social outcome.” However, she believes it comes “at the expense of engagement in treatment,” where only 4 percent of people received CUD treatment in 2019 versus 9 percent in 2002.

Think about that. The number of people who have sought treatment for problematic cannabis use has dwindled, and she believes that’s a problem. 

If you make your money from “addiction medicine” and by promoting rehabs and treatment centres – then yes, people not viewing themselves as helpless addicts who need your paid expertise is a problem.  

This phenomenon of people viewing their cannabis habits as habits instead of an addiction is a step in the right direction. Only ideologues believe “cannabis addiction” is a treatable medical condition. 

FDA Drugs vs. Changing Your Mind

As mentioned, Dr. Salwan pays lip service to “promising” FDA drugs to remedy cannabis addiction or CUD. But, as she writes in the article, all evidence points to cognitive behavioural therapy (and others) being more helpful.

And it’s obvious why. These therapies tend to challenge an individual’s thought process and patterns of thinking rather than affirm how they feel and look for a “root cause” somewhere in their childhood.

Cannabis addiction is not a treatable medical condition because addiction is not real, and problems of the mind are not medical conditions.

Addiction is a social construct that feeds into itself.

Much like race. We’re all homo sapiens. But you can divide people by skin colour, create cultures based on these skin tones, and then propagate and control populations according to the beliefs and values of the various “in” and “out” groups you’ve created with this social construct.

Addiction is the same way. Whether it’s cutting back on cannabis, social media or trying to create positive habits like exercising and eating right.

You can recognize your free will and autonomy or believe your habits and preferences are a “disease” or “disorder” of the brain. That you’re masking some underlying cause that only years of therapy and a cocktail of pharmaceuticals will cure.

Dr. Salwan worries that people have been denied access to CUD treatment because of its illegality or because their “symptoms were trivialized.”

And indeed, we’re not trying to trivialize someone who feels addicted. It’s incredibly frustrating. But, like poor race relations stemming from government policy, school indoctrination, and media coverage, this poor relationship between drugs and consumers results from “addiction experts.”

Dr. Salwan’s framing of the issue does not help.

Is Cannabis Addiction a Treatable Medical Condition?

Is Cannabis Addiction a Treatable Medical Condition?

“Cannabis use disorder” is a concept created and reinforced by these so-called experts.

But what about people (i.e. “cannabis addicts”) who strongly prefer the herb with their actions but not in their speech?

It could be they think cannabis helps them cope with some traumatic past.

And it could be that some people just like to get fucked up. For whatever reason, they want to feel numb. And drugs are an effective way of bringing about that state.

But it’s a leap in logic to blame the substance. It confuses cause and effect. It’s putting the cart before the horse in every sense of the term.

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2024 election

US Cannabis Legalization in the 2024 Election – Cannabis | Weed | Marijuana




US cannabis legalization in the 2024 election? Will Joe Biden and the Democrats make cannabis reform a significant part of their re-election platform?

With the potential rescheduling of cannabis from Schedule I to III, pot stocks have risen. Investors are hopeful that banking reform may pass Congress. Voters are anticipating the end of cannabis prohibition.

But how much of this is hype versus reality? How likely is it that cannabis legalization will be a 2024 U.S. election issue? 

For answers, CLN spoke with three experts in the field. Nawan Butt, Portfolio Manager at Purpose Investments, Leah Heise, Founder and CEO of Gemini Twin Consulting, and Lex Corwin, Founder and CEO of Stone Road Farms.

U.S. Cannabis Legalization in the 2024 Election

U.S. Cannabis Legalization in the 2024 Election

Neither Trump nor Biden is particularly pro-cannabis, says Leah Heise. However, cannabis is a “bipartisan issue that needs to move forward. But I don’t think that the presidential election will do much in terms of changing the trajectory of this industry.”

Leah sees more significant progress in Congress with the eventual passing of the SAFE Act. While before, cannabis reform was an “afterthought,” Leah finds it “heartening to have an executive branch and the legislative branch really engaging on the cannabis conversation.” 

But ultimately, the lack of access to capital markets and banking is causing the industry’s current woes. Someone “putting a stamp of approval” on the federal cannabis file is undoubtedly a step in the right direction. Still, Leah is skeptical that the 2024 election will be a catalyst.

Rescheduling cannabis to Schedule III is the current achievable goal. Whether that results in cross-border trade and an import/export market remains to be seen. But, according to Leah, that’s what needs to happen. 

“We could be a world leader in exporting [cannabis] products,” says Leah. “But we’re completely cut off, we can’t even even move products in California to the East Coast.”

Democrats Need to Own the Issue

Democrats Need to Own the Issue

Nawan Butt is also skeptical that the U.S. 2024 election will result in cannabis legalization outright. Like Leah, he sees more action from the SAFE Act and potential rescheduling.

The big event isn’t the 2024 election, says Nawan, but whether the DEA’s response is positive or negative for rescheduling cannabis. “The DEA is supposed to respond in 90 days,” says Nawan. “So hopefully that will give investors another boost in sentiment and whether this is happening or not.”

That said, “It’s going to be very important for the Democrats to own this going into 2024,” says Nawan. 

Rescheduling cannabis has got legislators interested in passing the SAFE Act. Nawan says that would help the Democrats “own” the cannabis legalization issue.

Passing banking reform will bring interim relief for thousands of cannabis operators nationwide. “If Democrats can make this a 2024 election issue, we think that would be fairly interesting.”

Of course, Democrats promised all kinds of cannabis reform last time. Vice-president Kamala Harris was a sponsor of the MORE Act.

U.S. Cannabis Legalization in the 2024 Election

“It’s a double-edged sword,” says Nawan. “On the positive side, they can do the same playbook they used in 2020, try and get investors to jump on the cannabis train for the Democrats. Alternatively,” Nawan adds, the inaction of the last four years “could dissuade some of the voters that this is not happening.”

Nawan says the Democrats must be cautious in rescheduling cannabis and passing the SAFE Act. He says if the U.S. reschedules cannabis and passes banking reform before 2024, the Democrats “can sort of own the issue but [then], they don’t have any carrot to dangle in front of their perspective voters.”

What About Small Businesses?

Lex Corwin sees cannabis being a big part of the 2024 election.

Lex Corwin sees cannabis being a big part of the 2024 election. “It’s too big a business for it not to be,” he says. 

Lex points to the number of cannabis businesses earning hundreds of millions, even billions, in revenue. “These are big businesses and they’re going to start to have the lobbying power that a lot of traditional industries enjoy.”

Cannabis legalization is inevitable; it’s just a question of who can make it to the finish line. Federal legalization or rescheduling may trigger a massive inflow of capital.

While this “basically helps our chances of being able to compete with some of these larger operators,” it’s a double-edged sword. Removing barriers means “some of these massive billion-dollar cannabis companies,” will be able to move into less mature markets. 

Also, some states don’t have the climate for cannabis cultivation. Lex mentions that New York’s indoor cultivators will never be able to compete with outdoor trees in California.

“It’s a huge worry,” he says. “But you know, ultimately, our strategy is to just get into as many states as possible.” While interstate commerce has pros and cons, Lex sees it as “an absolute game-changer.”

 “Our costs of production in California are a fraction of what other operators in virtually every other market pay,” he says.

That said, “We’re going to see smaller cannabis biotech firms get gobbled up by big pharma.” Lex says it’s already happening. While rescheduling cannabis offers tax breaks, it makes pharma research and development more accessible. 

U.S. Cannabis Legalization in the 2024 Election

Overall, however, Lex is optimistic about the future of the U.S. cannabis market and the potential for legalization. As are Leah and Nawan.

While cannabis legalization in the U.S. 2024 election may or may not be front and center, it’s likely that, when Americans cast a ballot in November of next year, cannabis may already be a Schedule III drug that banks aren’t afraid to touch. 


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All about Cannabis

B.C. Court Dismisses Cannabis Retail Lawsuit – Cannabis | Weed | Marijuana




A British Columbia (B.C.) court dismissed a lawsuit from owners of licensed cannabis retail shops. Last year, this group of cannabis retailers sued the province for not enforcing cannabis regulations.

While licensed cannabis retailers jump through bureaucratic hoops and pay excessive taxes on the faulty premise that this contributes to “public health and safety,” the B.C. Bud market of “illicit” retailers doesn’t face these same hurdles.

Particularly on Indigenous Reserves, where the plaintiffs claim damages of at least $40 million in lost revenue.

Justice Basran considered whether the province owed the plaintiffs a private law duty of care in this context. The plaintiffs claimed the province committed torts of negligence and negligent misrepresentation.

But what does this mean? And was Justice Basran’s dismissal of the lawsuit justified? 

Details of the Plaintiff’s (Cannabis Retail) Argument

B.C. Court Dismisses Cannabis Retail Lawsuit

While the cannabis retailers suing the province wished to remain anonymous, CLN uncovered who they were. Their position is understandable. The government sold them a bill of goods.

When Canada legalized cannabis, the province of B.C. effectively said, “play by the rules and you’ll profit.” The reality has been anything but.

Obviously, licensed cannabis retailers are at a competitive disadvantage vis-a-vis the unlicensed cannabis shops

So why did Justice Basran dismiss the lawsuit? 

First, let’s look at what the plaintiffs claimed in their suit. What do “torts of negligence” and “negligent misrepresentation” refer to in this context?

Tort Law

Negligence is a fundamental concept in tort law. It means a failure to exercise a degree of care reasonable people would exercise in similar circumstances.

To establish a claim of negligence, the plaintiff (in this case, a group of licensed cannabis retailers) needed to prove the following:

  • That the province of B.C. owed a duty of care to the licensed cannabis retailers. 
  • That the province breached that duty by failing to meet the standard of care expected under the circumstances (i.e. The province’s cannabis enforcement authority should have been raiding unlicensed shops more than they were)
  • That the province’s breach of duty directly caused harm or damages (i.e. Causation) to the licensed cannabis retailers
  • And that these actual harms (or losses) result from the province’s breach of duty.

The plaintiffs alleged that B.C. failed to enforce cannabis regulations (specifically, the Cannabis Control and Licensing Act) on Indigenous Reserves. They claimed this negligence resulted in damages of at least $40 million.

Negligent misrepresentation is a specific type of negligence claim that arises when one party provides false or misleading information to another party, and the party receiving the information relies on it (to their detriment).

To establish negligent misrepresentation, the licensed cannabis retailers had to prove the following:

  • That the province made a false statement, whether intentionally or not
  • That the plaintiffs relied on this false statement
  • The plaintiffs suffered financial (or other) losses from relying on this false statement.

In this case, the plaintiffs said that B.C. promised them a viable, legal, above-the-board retail cannabis industry. One way of ensuring this would be to take enforcement action against unlicensed retailers, whether on Indigenous Reserves or not.

Did the B.C. Government Owe a Duty of Care to the Cannabis Retailers?

B.C. Court Dismisses Cannabis Retail Lawsuit
Unlicensed cannabis shop in B.C.

Justice Basran considered whether the province owed the plaintiffs a private law duty of care. The B.C. government argued that it did not owe such a duty because the parties had no direct relationship.

But what does this mean?

In tort law, a “duty of care” is a legal obligation imposed on an individual (or group, entity, etc.) to exercise reasonable care and caution to prevent harm to others affected by their actions and omissions.

Of course, not all actions or omissions give rise to a duty of care. That’s where proximity comes in, which refers to the direct relationship between the parties. In this case, whether a direct connection between the province’s cannabis regulators and the cannabis retailers justifies imposing a legal duty.

Justice Basran had to determine whether the province of B.C. owed a “private law duty of care” to the cannabis retailers. Of course, B.C. argued that it did not. They argued that their duty was the “public interest,” not the economic interests of specific businesses.

Justice Basran agreed that no duty of care existed due to lack of proximity. 

How Did the Court Come to this Decision?

B.C. Court Dismisses Cannabis Retail Lawsuit

Justice Basran dismissed the B.C. cannabis retail lawsuit based on the “plain and obvious” legal standard used when deciding to strike pleadings. 

The court considered the Anns/Cooper test to determine whether a duty of care existed. This involves two stages. First, whether the harm alleged was reasonably foreseeable. And second, whether there is a close relationship between the parties (proximity).

Justice Basran found no prima facie duty of care between the province and the licensed cannabis retailers. The court argued that B.C.’s cannabis regulations do not establish a legislative intention to create such a duty.

The court also ruled that the claims made by the province (i.e. Get licensed and profit) did not create a sufficient relationship to impose a duty of care.

Suppose the court had recognized that such a duty exists. Justice Basran was concerned such a decision could result in more of these types of lawsuits where the province (and its regulators) are held liable for the economic losses of numerous businesses due to their incompetence.

Justice Basran weighed the potential negative consequences of such a decision and decided it wouldn’t be in the best interests of the legal system, taxpayers, or society as a whole to impose such a duty.

B.C. Court Dismisses Cannabis Retail Lawsuit

A B.C. court has dismissed the cannabis retail lawsuit. The decisions sound as if what’s convenient for the government overrules what’s just and fair.

Was Justice Basran’s dismissal of the lawsuit justified? Judges are, after all, only human. And there is an appeals court. So, there may be more to the case in the future.

In the meantime, to argue that judges in Canada have far too much power, that they are, in effect, legislating from the margins is considered a “far-right” viewpoint. 

But there is nothing “far-right” or even “far-left” about upholding the values that underpin our rule of law. 

Suppose governments can evade the consequences of their actions because of the potential cost to taxpayers or the legal system. In that case, there is no rule of law.

It’s rule by fiat masquerading as a rule of law.

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