The return of the Prince of Pot, and other pot news

And, Washington state issues its first retail marijuana licenses this week. How things have changed in five years.

Big news in the world o’ marijuana. Looking ahead, we can see how the big marijuana news will affect us in B.C. down the road.

It is worth noting that Marc Emery, long known as Canada’s “Prince of Pot,” is set to be released this week after five years in jail in the U.S. (though it could be a while before he can legally return to Canada).

Emery, as we all know, is the marijuana advocate and campaigner for marijuana policy reform, in particular legalization. He was a founding member of the Marijuana Party of Canada, and he helped found the British Columbia Marijuana Party (BCMP), which he still currently leads.

He was the publisher of “Cannabis Culture” magazine (for years a complimentary copy arrived at the offices of the Townsman every few months — I never did find out how that subscription came to be). He was also a seller of marijuana seeds, and that’s how he ended up in an American jail. The U.S. authorities labelled him a drug dealer for selling seeds into the U.S. The Canadian authorities agreed, and so to jail he went.

Oh, how things have changed since Marc Emery went up the river. The conversation about marijuana reform he took part in never died down — in fact, it just got noisier (though Emery was a pretty noisy part of that conversation). Witness the recent attempt to get marijuana reform on a referendum ballot, here in B.C. “Missed it by that much,” as Maxwell Smart used to say. But the subject is going to come up again, and it will come up again soon. It will be interesting to see how involved the Prince of Pot will be inclined to be, next time around.

More importantly, in marijuana news, Monday this week was the day Washington state issued its first retail marijuana licenses, following the lead of Colorado — where the money is pouring in apparently — and Uruguay, which late last year legalized the cultivation, sale, and consumption of cannabis, becoming the first country in the world to do so (using a model that may well be followed by other countries when they set out to reform their cannabis laws).

Washington state has licensed 24 stores in all. Spokane has three stores. Vancouver, Tacoma and Bellingham each have two. Seattle and the other cities on the list have one each. Officials eventually expect to have more than 300 recreational pot shops across the state, according to the Associated Press.

And pot prices were expected to reach $25 a gram or higher on the first day of sales. I’m not saying I know, but this is a considerable mark-up from an average street price of between $10 and $15 (medical marijuana is even less expensive).

But people are going to pay the prices, that’s for sure. And here in B.C., where we’re famous for our cultivation, we are looking across the border at that ready-made export market — just across the border!

We’ve gradually started making changes to our medical marijuana rules — it’s my belief that it’s the first step in a very long journey towards decriminalization, regulation and taxation — but all of a sudden, recreational marijuana is where the money is. All that great tax potential for government coffers.

Perhaps now that the Prince of Pot is out of jail, Canada’s and British Columbia’s conversation on these matters will pick up pace.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

COVID-19. (Image courtesy CDC)
47 new COVID-19 cases in Interior Health region

1,538 total cases, 399 are active, ten in hospital

Item no 22, De-Kieviet Kindergarten class - Highlands, Starting Bid: $20
Christmas Village 2020 school auction items

The annual Christmas Village has gone virtual, here are the auction items from local schools

It happened in 1913

Nov. 22 - 28: Compiled by Dave Humphrey from the newspapers at the Cranbrook History Centre and Archives

Urban wildlife Part VI: The East Kootenay birds of autumn

The work of local photographers printed in the pages of the East Kootenay Advertiser throughout 2020. Part VI.

COVID-19. (Image courtesy CDC)
Interior Health reports 65 new cases of COVID-19

Province-wide, there are 887 new cases of the virus

The bids for the 2020 Christmas Village are open as of noon on Thursday, November 26. Please scroll through this album to see auction items available for bidding.
Christmas Village 2020 auction items

The Christmas Village has gone virtual, here are all the details

Black Press Media and BraveFace have come together to support children facing life-threatening conditions. Net proceeds from these washable, reusable, three-layer masks go to Make-A-Wish Foundation BC & Yukon.
Put on a BraveFace: Help make children’s wishes come true

Black Press Media, BraveFace host mask fundraiser for Make-A-Wish Foundation

A B.C. Ambulance Service paramedic wearing a face mask to curb the spread of COVID-19 moves a stretcher outside an ambulance at Royal Columbia Hospital, in New Westminster, B.C., on Sunday, November 29, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Top doctor urges Canadians to limit gatherings as ‘deeply concerning’ outbreaks continue

Canada’s active cases currently stand at 63,835, compared to 53,907 a week prior

A Canadian Pacific freight train travels around Morant’s Curve near Lake Louise, Alta., on Monday, Dec. 1, 2014. A study looking at 646 wildlife deaths along the railway tracks in Banff and Yoho national parks in Alberta and British Columbia has found that train speed is one of the biggest factors. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn
Study finds train speed a top factor in wildlife deaths in Banff, Yoho national parks

Research concludes effective mitigation could address train speed and ability of wildlife to see trains

A airport worker is pictured at Vancouver International Airport in Richmond, B.C. Wednesday, March 18, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Canada extends COVID restrictions for non-U.S. travellers until Jan. 21 amid second wave

This ban is separate from the one restricting non-essential U.S. travel

Menno Place. (Google Street View image.)
B.C. care home looks to hire residents’ family members amid COVID-19-related staff shortage

Family would get paid as temporary workers, while having chance to see loved ones while wearing PPE

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good
Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

A man walks by a COVID-19 test pod at the Vancouver airport in this undated handout photo. A study has launched to investigate the safest and most efficient way to rapidly test for COVID-19 in people taking off from the Vancouver airport. The airport authority says the study that got underway Friday at WestJet’s domestic check-in area is the first of its kind in Canada. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO, Vancouver Airport Authority *MANDATORY CREDIT*
COVID-19 rapid test study launches at Vancouver airport for departing passengers

Airport authority says that a positive rapid test result does not constitute a medical diagnosis for COVID-19

Most Read