Make Money With Pot, Not War

Apr 29, 2013

Are we about to see the end of the war on drugs? Fol­low­ing bal­lot mea­sures last Novem­ber, pro­duc­ing and sell­ing mar­i­juana are now legal in both Col­orado and Wash­ing­ton state.  Sev­eral other U.S.  states have decrim­i­nal­ized sim­ple pos­ses­sion of mar­i­juana, or allowed its med­ical usage.  The lat­ter is also the case in Canada. The finan­cial con­se­quences of a com­plete and gen­eral legal­iza­tion across the con­ti­nent would cer­tainly be huge. Over the past cou­ple of decades, bil­lions of dol­lars have been spent fight­ing this unwinnable war, which has fuelled cor­rup­tion, orga­nized crime, and vio­lence.  Thou­sands of peo­ple are killed in drug fights every year in Mex­ico.  In Canada and the U.S., it has jus­ti­fied grow­ing gov­ern­ment intru­sion in com­mer­cial and pri­vate life, from the money-laundering bureau­cra­cies to civil for­fei­ture laws. Despite this, recre­ational use of drugs is as pop­u­lar as ever. The sim­ple eco­nomic fact is that when there is a demand, a sup­ply will be forth­com­ing — legally or ille­gally.  We should there­fore rec­on­cile our­selves with what econ­o­mists call “con­sumer sov­er­eignty,” that is, let peo­ple con­sume what they want, and let’s pros­e­cute only real crimes. From an eco­nomic per­spec­tive, it would be a lot more prof­itable for every­one if we stopped wast­ing resources try­ing to sup­press this trade, and instead let it develop legit­i­mately and have gov­ern­ments reg­u­late and tax it.  I don’t like taxes, but in that case, that would mean a huge improve­ment in terms of eco­nomic effi­ciency. In British Colum­bia only, where a lot of mar­i­juana is illic­itly being grown, legal­iza­tion could gen­er­ate $2.5 bil­lion in gov­ern­ment tax and licens­ing rev­enues over five years, accord­ing to a recent research paper from Simon Fraser Uni­ver­sity. Both the Wall Street Jour­nal and The Econ­o­mist have been con­vinc­ingly argu­ing for many years against the war on drugs.  And for the first time in more than four decades of polling on the issue, a major­ity of Amer­i­cans now favour legal­iz­ing the use of mar­i­juana.  In Canada, pub­lic sup­port has also been high for sev­eral years. My point is not that drug con­sump­tion is a good thing or that I encour­age it, but merely that any ratio­nal per­son can see that the cur­rent pol­icy has not been a suc­cess despite all the money spent and all the peo­ple jailed.  It is high time we rethink our strat­egy in this regard.  Let’s end the war on pot and make money with it instead. Source: Kingston Whig-Standard (CN ON) Copy­right: 2013 Sun Media Con­tact: http://​www​.the​whig​.com/​l​e​t​t​ers Web­site: http://​www​.the​whig​.com/ Author: Michel Kelly-Gagnon

5f246955c9ge004.jpeg 150x84 Make Money With Pot, Not War

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Make Money With Pot, Not War

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