Quebec recently made headlines with a move to require vaccination to buy cannabis and alcohol within the province. As a result, they saw a four-fold increase in registrations for the first dose of the Covid-19 Vaccine. Mandate activists touted this as a win for the effort against Covid, however there are many critics to this move begging the question, “at what point do these mandates become coercion?”
Another significant concern for some critics was that by requiring people to show proof of vaccination in places such as dispensaries and or liquor stores only increases the incentive to return to the black market for cannabis – where no proof of vaccination is required. Nonetheless, the policy shift did increase the number of people wanting to go get their first shot of the vaccine.
The Quebec Health Minister said that this incentive does not apply to having your cannabis delivered to your home, but if people have not been vaccinated at least once by January 18th, they will be prohibited from entering into these places.
Here’s some of the critical voices as reported on the website Mugglehead Magazine;
Wow. I’m as ‘pro vaccine’ as they come, but this is wrong. @TrinaFraser
They’re making so much money off of cannabis sales! Why would they want to make it harder to access? Aren’t they just sending ppl to the black market? @Lalun3
According to the Health Minister, Christian Dubé, the move was in order to protect the unvaccinated;
“I hope this will be an additional incentive for some to go get their first dose,” Dubé said. “The vaccination passport will be extended to certain non-essential businesses in the coming weeks and we’ll come back with a list after we have talked to industries.”
According to Dubé the policy incentive was also to reduce hospitalizations.
Should these kinds of policies be allowed in a free society?
While the move to vaccinate is framed as trying to protect people, there have been some severe debate about the means of motivation people to get vaccinated growing over the past year or so. In the US, several companies such as The Daily Wire, are suing the federal government and challenging the legal validity of vaccine mandates.
All over the world there are constant protest against these extreme measures because ultimately people are asking whether in a Free Society these kinds of mandates are actually valid. In fact, there is a legitimate case of concern as authoritarianism has significantly increased in 2021. In other words, there has been a significant loss of individual freedom since the pandemic happened and while some people might believe that it is only temporary, others fear that this pandemic will only end with a complicit world and digital vaccination passports to travel the world.
Irrespective whether you believe that the vaccine is heaven sent and the answer to the pandemic, the fact that you have to surrender your freedom in order to obtain it is an indication that at least from a “policy perspective” – there has to be a better way.
Rights aren’t privileges
One of the things that I have been advocating for more than two decades is individual liberty. I erroneously believed this to be “advocacy for cannabis rights”, but as I matured I understood that I believe in the individual’s right to exist, no matter how they choose to exist as long as it doesn’t directly infringe on the liberty of others.
Some might claim that by “not taking the vaccine” you are infringing on the rights of others, however, the refusal to consume something does not constitute as “infringing on the freedom of other”. The only way you can infringe on freedom is through force and coercion.
If you say, “You need a vaccine passport to buy weed”, you are essentially saying that you the individual does not have a fundamental human right to purchase cannabis legally. You are saying that because of your desire to opt out of a medical experiment (aka mass vaccinations); you do not posses the right to legally obtain cannabis within a sanctioned store.
Whether you believe that for the pandemic this is “necessary”, you accept the fact that you do not have a right to purchase cannabis unless you have strict permission from the government to do so. This is one of the fundamental issues stoners have had with the government since before legalization.
The government has no more right to tell you what you can and cannot put into your own body, just like they have no right to tell you what can come out of your mouth.
De-escalate the narrative
While I personally am not a fan on forced vaccinations – you know, because of the whole Nuremberg code – I also am not in favor of demonizing “the other”. This is a dangerous trend that I have been noticing online and see how people are shifting into more hateful intentions. Just the other day I read a Tweet Thread where people spoke about their “tolerance of the unvaccinated” and judging by the tone of their messaging – you could almost taste the hatred.
It was in that moment I realized that if we continue to play the game of the pandemic, and listen to politicians that aim to divide us even more in order to suppress our rights – we will end up in one of the worst “timelines” of humanity.
However, if we are able to look beyond ourselves and see the “other” for who they are – people just like you and me who are unsure on who to trust and only trying the best to protect themselves and their families. After all, both sides have good intentions. Those who take the vaccine believe that they are doing it to stop the pandemic, to reduce contagion and to get us through this shitshow. Those who oppose the mandates are doing so to protect your liberty and freedom, to stand against tyranny, and to make sure that when the pandemic is over – you still have enough rights to enjoy life.
The way I see it is as follows; if you feel like the vaccine is going to protect you against the Rona – you should take as many boosters as your heart desires. And if you wish to take your chances with the virus and see how you fair – you should be allowed to do that as well.
After all, every good scientific experiment has a control group – and if people could just opt in to be the “control”, then the whole world would be better as we would have empirical data to show the net positive or negative of the vaccines.
Nonetheless, what do you think about using cannabis and alcohol as incentives to get people to get vaccinated? Should people have the freedom of choice about their own medical interventions? Let us know in the comments below!