In a province where billionaires made it big gambling on petroleum, Aurora Cannabis is betting on a new kind of oil in Alberta. Recreational cannabis sales go legal in the land of the maple leaf on October 17th and Aurora has the munchies for market share.

Recreational?

Aurora isn’t blowing smoke in boasting a market cap of about $4.3 billion. It will be on the forefront of a new technology to extract cannabis oil at an industrial scale. Along with a second site in Medicine Hat, the company is set to produce 200,000 kilos of marijuana per year.

The Budweiser of weed – that’s Aurora’s aspirations as the leading provider of marijuana in the world.

Are we about to smell out the joint, Alberta?

It’s The Economy Stupid

Lets be blunt. A province eager to end its reliance on the oil and gas sector has been only too happy to welcome the cannabis industry. There’s little moral squeamishness about marijuana in Alberta. This is about the economy.

Stats Can estimates that Canadians spent $5.5 billion on marijuana in 2017. Most of that was on the black market but now tax dollars will brunt the sour smell of this psychoactive drug.

“In Alberta, we recognize that the cannabis industry is booming. Premier Rachel Notley and our government’s position is that this is another way to help diversify the economy,” says Deron Bilous, Minister of Economic Development and Trade.

However, weed is a non-partisan issue. Any political group would be party to the bottom line.

(CNW Group/TMX Group Limited)

Alcohol and Tobacco Regulation

Alberta pioneered privatized liquor sales twenty-five years ago. The Wildrose province is glowing from being first to the frontier of cannabis sales. The Alberta Gaming, Liquor and Cannabis Commission (AGLC) expects 250 cannabis stores to open in Alberta during the first wave, or 24 times more per capita than in Quebec. That number is expected to soar to over 500 shortly thereafter.

Concerned? Angry? Supportive?

At first glance, the marketing regulations in the federal Cannabis Act sound reasonable. They prohibit the “promotion, packaging and labeling of cannabis that could be appealing to young persons.” This is, however, nearly identical to language included in existing alcohol regulation, for which the alcohol industry has found plenty of loopholes.

Dope Loopholes

MacLean’s reports that alcohol-industry advertising consistently violates self-imposed codes. Further, Canada hasn’t updated its alcohol marketing standards since 1996. There is no regulation of alcohol marketing in media beyond TV and radio (i.e. the internet). In recent years alcohol companies have massively expanded alcohol promotion through social media. Research suggests that this marketing is normalizing binge and underage drinking.

Canada is a global leader in tobacco control. Tobacco regulators envision a tobacco “end game” in which just five per cent of the Canadian population smokes by 2035. Tobacco regulation has been one of our great public health achievements.

In contrast, Canada has the fourth-highest rate of binge drinking in the developed world, and is one of the few high-income countries where the amount of alcohol consumed per person is increasing.

Human Debris

Eighty per cent of Canadians drink alcohol regularly, and one quarter of youth aged 12-17 drank in the past year. The societal impacts of alcohol use in Canada are enormous. A recent report found that in 2016, alcohol led to more hospitalizations in Canada than heart attacks.

We decide to tolerate the human collateral damage caused by alcohol abuse because of the place it has in our culture.

Marijuana abuse, or even regular “use,” has similar foreseeable consequences in a country with one of the highest rates of cannabis use among young people in the developed world.

Not Good Business

Edmonton will boast the least restrictive rules for public consumption in Canada. At the University of Alberta non-users will have to turn up their noses or plug them completely to avoid the odor of skunk everywhere on campus.

October 17th may be good for business but it’s not good business for those who care about people.

{The Pentecostal Assemblies of Canada (PAOC, with whom our church is affiliated) stance concerning mood altering drugs is to abstain except in the case of medical prescription.}

APPLICATION: What are your thoughts about October 17th? Please leave a comment below.


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Bob Jones

Author Bob Jones

Pastor at North Pointe Community Church for 28 years. Happily married to Jocelyn for 39 years. We have two adult sons, Cory and his wife Lynsey and their son Vinnie and daughter Jayda; Jean Marc and his wife Angie and their three daughters, Quinn, Lena and Annora. I love being a pastor and inspiring faith in Jesus through communicating, blogging, counseling and coaching. I enjoy running, reading, writing and ball hockey. Fan of the Esks and Pats. Follow me on Twitter @bobjones49ers

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Join the discussion 5 Comments

  • Brian Glover says:

    I believe in medical Marijuana use however for most of the medical users the oils and pills are the prefered method of consumption due to the health risks of smoking the dried weed and it affecting your lungs just as a cigarette would. I have seen the good affects of the cannabis oils with my fathers migraines and he’s 83, for him after a lifetime of living with migraines everyday to be able to not have a day without one is a miracle as far as he is concerned and we both highly recommend it to anyone with the same issues. The CBD oils contain a very small amount of THC (the stuff you get “high” from) so there are little to no side effects. Most importantly. You Cannot Overdose and die. You can be high and do stupid things but you cannot smoke enough weed or drink enough oil to overdose and die.

  • Marc Desgagne says:

    I believe that marijuana has different effects on different people. I for one lived in a basement suite with the people upstairs smoking marijuana and it would filter downstairs. It made me extremely depressive,suicidal at times. I was glad to move out. I realize that medicinally marijuana is good for some like my dad, he takes some by ingestation. Makes eat more. He has copd. So doesn’t smoke it. My brother smokes ot occasionally and i see the difference in him, glazed eyes, lethargic, depressed. Antisocial. Like i said, for some it helps, others like myself doesn’t, i hate the smell. I will try to simply avoid placing myself in a location that people smoke marijuana. Hopefully the city will tweak the bylaws to help. I know some rental companies are banning use on their property completely. And others are putting restrictions in rental suites only and not in common areas. Will have to wait and see. If i see more people driving high that will be a problem. Hopefully enforcement will be effective and out in force to deter driving high. For my safety and my daughter’s safety and all others who drive.or ride buses etc. It is great to have an open dialogue.

  • Anonymous says:

    In my personal opinion, the province of Alberta (along with the federal government) has an incredibly lax approach to this whole issue around the legalization of cannabis in terms of legal age to purchase, where to buy, how much you can carry around with you, whether you can grow plants at home, etc. Many provinces have legislated (19) to be considered legal age, and apparently Quebec is shooting for (21). Why in Alberta is it (18)?
    Not only are there inconsistencies in legal age by province, but some provinces are rolling out a “soft launch” to market by only allowing on-line sales. We have many actual retail stores in Alberta that are popping up and eager to serve walk in traffic in a couple of days. Are all of these “budding” entrepreneurs going to be asking their consumers for identification? Or, will they prefer to look the other way in order to pay the high cost of doing business? My understanding this far is if you are a pot shop, that is all you can sell. Cannabis and it’s accessories. Nothing else. That’s a whole lot of weed to sell to just cover the expense of rent, taxes, salaries, and utilities.
    I have recently heard that the federal government will have a government controlled website to sell cannabis on-line, including door to door delivery. The feds are justifying this by claiming that through this method, they will be able to control who purchases, meaning it will not be sold to under aged consumers . Wow, now the federal government is in the business of selling drugs?
    I am sure that the Liberals and locally the NDP government, have an arsenal of reasons as to why this is a good idea for the country, one of them being, it just makes good economic sense. To me, this is all about “tax dollars” and creating a whole new revenue stream for governments that continue to overspend. The provincial inconsistencies of a “national” roll out is proof of that. Alberta seems to have more freedom with how this is going to be handled starting this week and I wonder if it is because we have experienced a downturn in our economy?
    It has been proven time and time again, that the more the government makes, the more they overspend. When will this madness stop? Just another perfect example of not thinking things through from beginning to end. Has there even been a study on how this will further negatively impact the health care system and the additional costs to police all of this long term?
    I recognize the advantages to medical cannabis, but I can’t help wonder how this is going to serve society as a whole with this new legalization. There are already numerous public announcements about educating the public on how not to combine alcohol with cannabis, and the devastating impact if you do. To me this is a broadcast that there is significant reason to be concerned. Why couldn’t there have been a controlled test in 1 province before just driving this through on a national basis? Again, another example of potential damage control after the fact. What new source of income will the government come up with down the road to clean up the mess that this could potentially cause for Canada?

  • Carole Holmes Schlachta says:

    All these opinions are interesting.
    I’m blown away with all the open comments.
    Quebec 21 yrs. Acceptable
    Ontairio 19 yrs. ”
    The remaining provinces 18yrs.
    This truly promotes black market.
    I remember my grandparents discussing prohibition many years ago.
    When my children were teenagers the big discussion was LSD and many others.
    Now we have opioids, meth. and mara.
    And the worst of this our Prime Minister made it legal.
    Shame on Him!
    Wait until his children become of age and I’m sorry for him. Is this his legacy?
    How we need to pray for our families!
    We must not forget prayer. Our God is an overcommer! Pray!
    Thank you, Pastor Bob

  • Laura O.E says:

    It is a shame, i am really concerned about the youths. I do not understand why the govtment couldn’t go with the recommendation of the medical community, which is 25yrs. At this age their brains, especially the ftontal lobe for executive decisions is fully developed. They could have at least made the age limit 21yrs, same as alcohol, not 18 which is practically still a child. Well we will just have to educate our kids about marijuana , and trust Holy Spirit to lead and guide them in the right path.

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