Newsbrief: Legalize and Tax Cannabis, Says Canadian Institute 6/11/04

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The Canadian government could earn revenues of more than $1.5 billion a year if it legalized and taxed marijuana, according to a report issued Wednesday by the Fraser Institute, a Vancouver-based free-market think tank. And that's just what the government should do, the report concluded.

In British Columbia alone, the province on which the report concentrated, the retail value of the annual pot crop is $5 billion, the report said. BC appears strikingly cannabis-friendly, said report author Stephen Easton, noting that only 13% of those arrested for growing marijuana in the province are actually charged, compared to 60% in the rest of the country. And those who are convicted are less likely to be sent to jail; only 45% got jail time in BC.

Noting that BC police bust 3,000 marijuana grow-ops a year without making a dent in the trade, Easton likened current Canadian marijuana policy to Prohibition. "If we treat marijuana like any other commodity we can tax it, regulate it, and use the resources the industry generates rather than continue a war against consumption and production that has long since been lost," said Easton. "It is apparent that we are reliving the experience of alcohol prohibition of the early years of the last century."

The question is no longer if Canada is going to tolerate marijuana, said Easton, but who will profit from it. "Unless we wish to continue the transfer of these billions from this lucrative endeavor to organized crime, the current policy on prohibition should be changed. Not only would we deprive some very unsavory groups of a profound source of easy money, but also resources currently spent on marijuana enforcement would be available for other activities," he said.

Read the executive summary with link to the full report, "Marijuana Growth in British Columbia, online at:

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Issue #341, 6/11/04 The Reagan-Era Drug War Legacy | Medical Marijuana Activists Protest at More Than 100 Congressional Offices in National Day of Action | Despite Ohio State University's Best Efforts, Ohio Hempfest Goes On As Scheduled | Canadian Marijuana Reformers "Fill the Hill" to Make Cannabis an Issue in Upcoming Election Season | Newsbrief: "Three Strikes" Challenge Makes California Ballot | Newsbrief: Pennsylvania Troopers Find Dope Most Often on White Motorists but Search More Blacks and Hispanics, Study Finds | Newsbrief: Swiss Doctors Want Prescription Cocaine, But Government Wary With Cannabis Decriminalization Vote Looming | Newsbrief: Another Pain Doctor on Trial | Newsbrief: Legalize and Tax Cannabis, Says Canadian Institute | Links: Rockefeller Reform Fizzles Again | The Reformer's Calendar

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