A pot store on every corner

by Garfield Marks

Coming soon to a neighbourhood near you: Pot Stores and Marijuana Marketing, according to recent reports. I am not sure whether we will be going to the pharmacy or the liquor store or even a stand alone pot store to get our stash before getting stoned. We will soon be able to legally buy a joint if we are of legal voting age.

How will this end up? Like liquor stores, will they start off as government enterprises, privatize and expand to having a store on every corner? End up as a department in a grocery store?

If you look at Alberta liquor stores, they are everywhere. In Red Deer, we even have bars and liquor stores near elementary schools. The next three high schools in Red Deer will be within a short walking distance of multiple bars and liquor stores. Will we have Pot Stores near the high schools, easy access to the 18 year old seniors to shop for their friends?

I very seldom visit liquor stores, but I have, for various special occasions. Will it be required of the host of dinners and parties to have marijuana on hand for their guests? Should I buy ashtrays?

Schools used to be separate from commerce, but now we bring commerce to the schools. We profit off our children with vending machines, fast food restaurants, cigarettes, alcohol and apparently soon, it will be with marijuana. (At least with the students with ID, showing they are over 18.)
As a society are we obfuscating or even abandoning our responsibility for the well-being of the next generation? If we cannot avoid the selling of cigarettes, alcohol and marijuana, can we at least keep them at some distance from our schools? Should we not be planning now? I would think so.

I am against prohibition, and I would like to see the criminal element removed from the equation, and tax revenue would help, but what about societal costs? Like alcohol, in Alberta, will the legal availability, privatization, and market expansion increase the health care costs? In some provinces alcohol is found in grocery stores; will we soon see Cannabis?

Is that the future? Pot Stores on every corner, between the liquor store and fast food joint across the street from the high school? I hope not but every town will eventually deal with this issue, I think.

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