After a turbulent month of cyberattacks, strikes, and product shortages, government monopoly wholesalers are getting back to what they do best: limiting your choice as a cannabis consumer.
As Canadian cannabis law bans celebrity endorsements, you won’t find the latest product from Hexo Corp in Quebec or Alberta.
The “Tyson 2.0” is in partnership with boxing legend Mike Tyson.
Monopoly Wholesalers Limiting Your Choice
Canadian cannabis law prevents celebrity endorsements. But, you’d be hard-pressed to find any promotion or endorsement on this product.
American versions of “Mike Bites” features a hilarious package with an ear on the cover. Of course, this refers to when Tyson bit off part of Evander Holyfield’s ear during the 1997 World Boxing Association heavyweight championship.
The Canadian products, called “Tyson 2.0,” are plain-packaged like every other cannabis product.
However, packaging may have been beside the point. The Quebec wholesaler told MjBizDaily that they didn’t want the organization “to be associated with this image.”
They might have been referring to Mike Tyson’s 1992 rape conviction or his general reputation as a crazy person.
The Alberta Gaming, Liquor & Cannabis (AGLC) referred to the promotion of cannabis products through celebrity endorsements as their raison d’état.
Not the First Time: Governments Love Limiting Your Choice
Canopy Growth has tried a few times to lighten up Canada’s no fun allowed cannabis regime. Each time, Health Canada squashed the initiatives, limiting your choice as a consumer.
Twice, Canopy tried to work with rappers. The first time it was a partnership with Snoop Dog to produce “Leafs by Snoop.” The product still made it to Canada. Canopy just had to remove any reference to Snoop Dogg’s name.
Last year, Canopy ended a partnership with Drake. As well they had to cancel a deal with movie actor Seth Rogan.
Don’t blame Health Canada, they’ll say. The real problem is the strict marketing rules in the Cannabis Act. And while that’s true, interpretations and enforcement (however petty) are always left to the bureaucracy.
Can We Trust Health Canada?
When enforcing the Cannabis Act, can we trust Health Canada?
Consider who funds Health Canada.
Taxpayers, right? It’s a federal bureaucracy, so you’d think Canadian taxpayers would be funding it. Makes sense. Who else would be giving them money?
What about large pharmaceutical companies? And to the tune of 90%?
Health Canada charges manufacturers for new drugs on the market. These user fees account for 50% of Health Canada’s operating costs.
But since October 2017, this has steadily increased to cover 90% of Health Canada’s costs.
Isn’t there a conflict of interest here? Our health care bureaucracy receives most of its funding from pharmaceutical companies. They are also tasked with regulating a non-patented, natural herb. One that replaces a good chunk of pharmaceutical drugs.
Monopoly Wholesalers Limiting Your Choice
Now, I’m not against this in principle. The problem comes from having monopoly powers.
Health Canada receives 90% of its funding from pharmaceutical companies, then tells us their mRNA vaccines are safe. At the same time, cannabis causes heart attacks and psychosis and is addictive.
The problem is their monopoly status as federal health care regulators, like provincial wholesalers of cannabis.
Of course, if a private distributor doesn’t want to carry Tyson 2.0 because they don’t like Mike Tyson, that’s their prerogative. It’s limiting your choice, but when you have other options…
But when a taxpayer-funded monopoly makes that decision, they’re interjecting their personal values where they don’t belong.
Hence the moral superiority of private enterprise. Where risking your capital requires you to put some thought into your decisions.
Imagine a Canada where consumers and entrepreneurs make choices based on their own risk assessments.
Where the government does the basic tasks of any liberal state: keep out of the daily affairs of the public.
Where individual autonomy and personal responsibility overrule concerns about “public health and safety.”
You won’t find that today. Not in a country run by bureaucrats too scared to allow a private store to sell Mike Bites to willing customers.