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.

 

Just Posted

New app could address Wetaskiwin crime issues

‘Block Talk’ available now for Wetaskiwin residents

UPDATED Leduc RCMP seek older suspect in alleged assault

UPDATED Leduc RCMP seek public assistance in identifying assault suspect

Potato and cheese with Ecuadorian flavour

Soup recipe from south of the equator this week

County of Wetaskiwin ‘open for business’

Updated Hwy #2 development policy approved by council

Wetaskiwin offers good value for taxes: mayor

Tyler Gandam speaks to chamber of commerce about 2019 budget May 14

VIDEO: Canadian breaks women’s world record for longest plank

Dana Glowacka, of Montreal, held a plank for four hours and 20 minutes

Canadian homebuyers escaping high housing costs by moving to secondary cities

In British Columbia, exurbs have grown in the Hope Valley and Kamloops

Feds lay out proposed new rules for voice, video recorders in locomotives

Transport Canada wants to limit use of recorders to if a crew’s actions led to a crash

New poll suggests one-third don’t want politicians to wear religious symbols

Local politicians shouldn’t be allowed to wear hijabs, crucifixes or turbans on the job, survey suggests

Raptors fans far from home adjust plans to watch pivotal playoff game

Raptors currently lead the playoff series 3-2, and a win Saturday would vault them into NBA finals

Alberta NDP cries foul as Speaker Cooper names new legislature clerk

Shannon Dean will replace Merwan Saher as the clerk of the assembly effective immediately

‘Her life mattered:’ New trial ordered in death of Indigenous woman Cindy Gladue

In a 4-3 decision, Supreme Court said evidence about Cindy Gladue’s sexual history was mishandled

Emergency funds for High Level evacuees to start flowing by Monday

About 5,000 people in High Level and surrounding communities have been out of their homes for a week

Five takeaways from the Court of Appeal ruling on B.C.’s pipeline law

It’s unclear how many tools are left in B.C.’s toolbox to fight the project

Most Read