Boycott weed, stop gang violence. The market solution will put economic pressure on the gangsters running the marijuana trade - Ed Watson:
Another shooting in Greater Vancouver. Nearly everyone is demanding action by the government and police. News conferences are called to reassure the public. Sociologists and criminologists are trotted out to apportion blame for these shocking violent crimes.One wonders how dearly your average pot smoker holds his weed, or if in any case he would be moved by a call to take on the kind of responsibility Watson suggests. Boycott or legalize, we need to cut the criminal gangs out of the picture.
You want to see who's responsible? Perhaps you should look in a mirror.
In corporate terms, the shootings are hostile takeovers in a multibillion-dollar industry. It's a business that has grown with the support, or at least tacit acceptance of many British Columbians. Businesses exist to serve a demand. Success is based on market share, effective distribution and a positive branding.
Police estimate British Columbia has thousands of indoor marijuana growing operations. Much of the product is exported, but the Centre of Addictions Research of B.C. reports about 680,000 British Columbians use marijuana at last once every year. And about 12,000 use other illicit drugs. It's a growth market and those consumers have a lot of influence.
Do you want to stop the killing and put pressure on the gangsters? Forget about another police task force. Let's try the marketplace solution any businessman will understand -- direct action by consumers. Let's boycott marijuana.
After the French refused to join the Iraq war, many Americans boycotted French wine. According to a study published by Stanford University, French wine sales in the United States declined 13 per cent during the first six months of the war. It cost the French wine industry $112 million in just six months.
The boycott didn't change the French position on the war, but it put significant pressure upon an identifiable group within the French economy. Why don't we grab B.C. crime bosses by the wallets and squeeze hard until they eliminate their dangerous behaviour?
In any case, as goes a local joke, the International Olympic Committee needs to review its rules about athletes using cannabis. The 2010 Winter games will be in Vancouver/Whistler and it is rather difficult to walk the streets of these towns without imbibing some second-hand marijuana smoke. Here's a little Olympics-themed art currently on display at Burnaby City Hall: