Jim Furlong: Today’s Special

“It won’t be long now.” That’s what former Premier Frank Moores used to say, but he wasn’t talking about the legalization of cannabis. 

In just a month and a bit you are going to be able to sidle up to the counter in a number of locations in the province and buy weed. The question, and there are many questions, is how everything will play out. Now, I watched with interest the announcement on retailing this week. There were 24 successful applicants and among those were 10 locations from Loblaws, the parent company of Dominion; the friendly grocers. 

Monumental Decision

The province, through the Newfoundland and Labrador Liquor Corporation, made a monumental decision that leaves me surprised and generally pleased. NLC has opted for “marketing” people rather than “weed” people to sell the product. They want good “over the counter” folk. That’s good. 

I know all about weed. Everybody smokes it. You would be amazed, but no names from me. Nobody likes a narc. You know I remember when an ounce of weed was all of $25. I’m that old. That ounce might have lots of stalks and seeds in it, but that was the price. The downside was that the weed wasn’t very good.

To have the marketing of the product grown by Canopy Growth here handled by people like Loblaws and others with sensible business plans is a great move. The world of pot, like everything else, needs quality control and, along with it, consumer protection. Those two concepts enter now into a world that heretofore had been part of a kind of wild west for consumers. 

Up until now where do you turn if you get short-changed on the weight or the product isn’t up to scratch in terms of quality? You can’t call the cops. 

That’s why Loblaws and people like it are welcome into that world. Forget all the talk about giant companies. They at least know how to sell stuff properly and they want my business. I can see in my dreams all kinds of scenarios that flow from the legal weed business from Loblaws or the others. Will there be weekend specials on weed? A friend of mine pointed out that it is the ultimate one-stop shopping. Groceries, booze and weed. All in one trip. 

Marvellous World

Here is what I wonder in quiet moments. Where has the time gone? Buying weed used to be a case where you knew someone who knew someone and you met up at the top of Victoria Park or the back table of some bar and you spoke in hushed tones and kept looking around. Now instead it’s going to be soccer moms and dads and teachers and priests and all the rest pulling into parking lots in SUVs so they can go for groceries and booze and a “draw” for the weekend. 

It’s a marvellous world filled with change and a world getting better by the day.

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