If “what are you smoking?” used to the be the skeptical response to those who said marijuana would one day be legal in more than 38 US states, the new catchphrase might be “what are you snorting?”
Earlier this month, a Canadian company, Safe Supply Streaming, did a reverse takeover with a psychedelics company in order to prepare for listing on a small-cap stock exchange in Canada. Its thesis is a “third wave” of relaxing drug laws, following those that have opened up use of marijuana and psychedelics. The next wave, the company predicts, will cover hard drugs, like heroin and cocaine.
The company wants to use its “streaming” model to invest in addiction clinics, fentanyl test-strip makers and other businesses that might benefit from such a shift, as well as energy drinks that contain coca leaves (but without cocaine, just like Coca-Cola beverages).
The development shows shifting attitudes toward hard drugs as their decriminalization in places including Oregon and British Columbia has stoked business interest. Early investors tout the idea that just as legal, regulated marijuana was supposed to quash drug crime and obliterate underage use, creating a “safe supply” of hard drugs could do the same — and also solve the problem of fentanyl contamination.
The idea is pitched to appeal to governments desperate for policy solutions to soaring overdose deaths. But it’s bound to generate skepticism. Even the much more widely accepted legalization of marijuana has been showing severe downsides, as seen in problems that have surfaced in Colorado, Washington and New York.
Even without relaxed laws, illegal cocaine production is surging: Colombian cocaine output has soared and is even set to overtake the country’s oil exports. Its illegal use has brought with it corruption across the Americas and the infiltration of one of the world’s top shipping companies.