By Darren Atwater | Sunday 10 November 2019
Disclosure: I have no positions in any stocks mentioned, and no plans to initiate any positions within the next 72 hours. I wrote this article myself, and it expresses my own opinions. I am not receiving compensation for it (other than from ShareProphets). I have no business relationship with any company whose stock is mentioned in this article.
Last week, ShareProphets reader Mark Smith tore a strip off of me for my blasé attitude towards cannabis stocks and drug legalisation. I mean, read that comment: Mr Smith thinks I'm basically Pablo Escobar with a laptop.
Admittedly, pot stocks had been on my mind. I had been considering to drive out to Smiths Falls, Ontario to visit Tweed Inc., a division of Canopy Growth Corporation (TSE:WEED). Smiths Falls had been the Canadian headquarters of American chocolate behemoth Hershey, Inc (NYSE:HSY) and the local economy had been devastated when Hershey shuttered its factory and left town six years ago.
Tweed moved into the abandoned plant, bringing hundreds of its own employees and spurring an increase of the town's employment by thousands. On the same page of the council's website that gives information on churches, buses, and pensioner programmes, it now includes cannabis information.
But I have not been to Smiths Falls. It could be a quaintly picturesque gangsta ridden hell hole for all I know.
However, I was in central Ottawa yesterday afternoon, on a posh street. Located somewhere between a vegan delicatessen and a craft beer taphouse was this:
Now, we may all not want these in our neighbourhoods however I, myself, don't have any problems with vegans.
But that cannabis shop, Superette, (which is independently owned, and not part of Canopy) is as offensive as a candle shop.
Take a look at the interior. The nightmare of legalisation is not drug abuse and crime, but the proliferation of twee consumerism.
But let me answer some of Mr Smith's direct accusations:
1. There are over 20,000 people being treated in mental health institutions for cannabis addiction, all of whom have severe psychosis related problems
I can't find anything that anyone anywhere is in a mental health institution for cannabis addiction.
2. Babies are now being born in Canada with weed related defects - you should know about this but I dare say you choose to ignore this.
I chose to ignore this because I don't think it is a thing. I couldn't find any info on it and, as of today, cannabis has been legal for one year and one month. You have one round of babies born in the period which doesn't seem to be enough time to even notice.
Also: it's exactly the same as alcohol. While drinking and breeding is bad, that doesn't mean alchohol should be banned.
3. You also ignore the plentiful news reports of people high on this junk committing violent attacks and murders. The papers are also full of reports of grieving parents whose children have lost their minds to this stuff.
I don't think you know the effect of cannabis on people. Getting high on pot leads one to lay down. Doing something—anything—is not a common reaction to the drug.
4. In places where it is legal, car crashes involving spliffed drivers have increased resulting in more deaths, as recently featured in a documentary on Las Vegas.
I'd like to see that documentary. But, like gestating while ingesting, cannabis should be treated like alcohol.
5. Unfortunately very few young people get a criminal record for this, so you are wrong again, but if they do then that's their fault, the law is there to protect people from this dangerous stuff, that is why it was criminalized decades ago!
In this article, it says 15,120 people in England and Wales were prosecuted for possession of cannabis in 2017. That's 15,120 people (and a similar amount every single year) who now have criminal records. For something that in Canada, Washington State, Colorado, and other places is basically a purchase in a Body Shop. Maybe they are dealers, you wonder? In Canada, they're worse: they are Toronto Stock Exchange listees.
6. In America they have not received anywhere near the taxes they thought they would, but for people like you (who clearly have a vested interest here) to put money / greed above peoples health and safety is completely and utterly shameful.
The tax dollars are just a pleasant side-effect. The point is to remove people from the criminal process and to divert police resources to more important things. But for what it is worth, Washington State received $150 million more in pot tax than liquor tax. Colorado receives $1 billiion of pot taxes per year. And remember - sales have not really increased, it just was not previously taxed. This is free money.
As to the statement that I have a vested interest. I confess that I believe that informed free people have the right to do what they want to their bodies.
As for a personal economic interest: I think the cannabis sector, like Bitcoin, is tulip bulb market
7. I assume you have children? So you would be happy for them to become drug users, or is it just ok for everyone else.
No kids for me. But cannabis use makes one a drug user like drinking a pint makes one an alcoholic.
8. You do yourself, common sense, knowledge and this web site a total disservice Darren, absolute shame on you.
Tom, is that you?
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