Legalizing, taxing marijuana comes closer

The number of pros outweighs the number of cons...

Marijuana is becoming more popular. Or at least it seems to be much more acceptable.

Its value as a painkiller is widely known and even traditionally conservative nations like the good ole U.S.A. have acknowledged the drug’s medicinal effects, and according to media coverage in 2007, Canada leads the developed world in recreational grass smoking.

Is it time to discuss legalizing marijuana? Yes, it probably is.

And for all you stoners out there who prefer the term “decriminalization,” meaning, “we can smoke marijuana but shouldn’t have to pay taxes like alcohol drinkers or cigarette smokers,” you can come back to reality now. It’s more likely than ever that marijuana will be legalized for recreational use. There are lots of reasons for that and tax revenue isn’t the least of them.

Marijuana, for the most part, is controlled by organized crime according to the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration; right now, bike gangs, mafia and triads do not pay any tax on their substantial incomes as drug dealers. And don’t kid yourself, that income is substantial. According to a federal government report, “Cannabis: Report of the Senate Special Committee” published in 2003, the annual marijuana crop in British Columbia is worth $6 billion. That’s $6,000,000,000. That’s a lot of money, and the dollar value is probably a lot higher now than when the 2003 report was published.

While mafia and bikers get rich off marijuana, Canadian society has to pay the costs of the drug dealers’ violence such as incarceration for the gangsters and hospital care for their victims, yet  that same Canadian society does not get any of the financial benefits, which leaves society in the hole while gangsters drive around Alberta in Acuras and BMWs.

Instead, Canadian taxpayers should be reaping the financial windfall from this industry. Marijuana users are going to buy their product anyway; rather than criminals growing rich and living in luxury, taxpayers should be see budgets boosted by recreational marijuana revenue, and would also address the health issues marijuana users face; even the strongest proponent of marijuana knows that inhaling unfiltered smoke into lungs can’t be healthy. Some scientific studies have suggested mental effects to long-term marijuana users too. Right now, Canadian taxpayers are already paying the bill for these health issues, with no revenue from the marijuana users themselves. The Cheeches and Chongs should pay their own way like the tobacco users and alcohol drinkers.

Granted, some people in society do not want to see marijuana legalized, and it seems there is always one main argument they fall back on: legalizing marijuana will make more addicts because grass will be easier to get. As noted above, the Vancouver Sun ran a story in 2007 stating Canada was the number one recreational marijuana user among developed nations. Anyone who wants marijuana in Canada can get it relatively easy, and consequences for possession are a joke; It couldn’t be much easier to get right now…anyone who wants it can find it.

Is marijuana dangerous? Marijuana tends to make users docile and stoney; alcohol is a far worse drug and it’s legal. First responders and those in the emergency medical world would no doubt agree alcohol, with its connection to violent moods, is much worse than marijuana, which usually results in a passive user.

Then there’s the libertarian argument about legalizing recreational marijuana use. Canada is said to be a free society, and if a citizen wants to smoke marijuana, who’s to say it’s any worse than cigarettes, chewing tobacco, beer, wine or whiskey?

Finally, the Baby Boomers are getting older by the day. This country already has problems with health budgets, and in Alberta more taxpayer money is poured into the black hole called Alberta Health than all other provincial departments combined. Governments are going to need money to pay for all those extended care facilities and intensive care beds as the Boomers get into their 80’s and 90’s and above.

Six billion dollars can go a long way.

 

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

COVID
Red Deer down to 313 active cases of COVID-19

Alberta reports an additional 411 COVID-19 cases

THE CANADIAN PRESS/Alex Panetta
Economists “cautiously hopeful” for economic recovery in Alberta

Charles St. Arnaud says Alberta’s recovery will rebound along with roll-out of the COVID-19 vaccine

Alberta’s chief medical officer of health Dr. Deena Hinshaw acknowledged that Friday would be one year since the first case of COVID-19 was identified in the province. (photography by Chris Schwarz/Government of Alberta)
Three more Red Deer COVID-19 deaths, 331 active cases in Alberta

Red Deer is down to 362 active cases of the virus

Image curtesy Metro Creative Connection
County of Wetaskiwin addresses unpaid oil and gas taxes

The County of Wetaskiwin is addressing unpaid oil and gas taxes and… Continue reading

Caitlin Kraft, the sister of Jeffery Kraft, stands third from the left, holding a sign calling for the maximum sentence for Campbell, who is charged with manslaughter. (Photo by Paul Cowley)
UPDATED: Judge again rejects submission of 7-year sentence for slaying of Kraft

Tyler John Campbell charged with second-degree murder for December 2019 homicide

(The Canadian Press)
‘Worse than Sept. 11, SARS and financial crisis combined’: Tourism industry in crisis

Travel services saw the biggest drop in active businesses with 31 per cent fewer firms operating

Hockey hall-of-fame legend Wayne Gretzky, right, watches the casket of his father, Walter Gretzky, as it is carried from the church during a funeral service in Brantford, Ont., Saturday, March 6, 2021. HE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Walter Gretzky remembered as a man with a ‘heart of gold’ at funeral

The famous hockey father died Thursday at age 82 after battling Parkinson’s disease

Supporters rally outside court as Pastor James Coates of GraceLife Church is in court to appeal bail conditions, after he was arrested for holding day services in violation of COVID-19 rules, in Edmonton, Alta., on Thursday March 4, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
‘Law remains valid:’ Pastor accused of violating health orders to remain in jail

The Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms is representing the pastor

A decommissioned pumpjack is shown at a well head on an oil and gas installation near Cremona, Alta., Saturday, Oct. 29, 2016. The Alberta Energy Regulator says it is suspending all of the licences held by an oil and gas producer with more than 2,200 wells and 2,100 pipelines after it failed to bring its operations into compliance. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
Alberta Energy Regulator suspends licences of oil and gas producer that owes $67M

The company is being asked to comply with past orders to clean up historic spills and contamination

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau holds a press conference in Ottawa Friday, March 5, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Trudeau holds firm on premiers’ health-care funding demands, COVID-19 aid comes first

Premiers argue that the current amount doesn’t keep pace with yearly cost increases of about five per cent

Seniors in the 65-unit Piper Creek Lodge are among those waiting for COVID-19 vaccinations. (File photo by Advocate staff)
Central Alberta senior lodges anxiously waiting for COVID-19 vaccinations

“Should be at the front of the line, not the back of the line”

Pictured here is Stettler’s Jenner Smith with a guide dog from Aspen Service Dogs. An online auction will be running soon to help raise funds for Jenner to receive his very own service dog later this year. Jenner, who is four years old, was diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder in 2019. photo submitted
An online auction is planned to raise funds for a service dog for a Stettler family

Jenner Smith, four, was diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder in 2019

Most Read